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Managed IT Services
Published on
April 14, 2023
Michelle Lievense Portrait
Michelle Lievense
April 14, 2023

Most Common Types of Cyber Attacks

types of cyber attacks
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While cyber-attacks are a concern for businesses of any size, it’s not always top of mind. Business owners have plenty on their plate, but cyber-attacks are not something that owners can afford to deprioritize. Cybersecurity is now a critical business function just like any other. 

Let’s go over the top types of cyber attacks, what you need to know, and how properly secure your business from each type of attack. 

1. Phishing Attacks

Phishing attacks are the most common scam. The scammer will pretend to be a legitimate person or business seeking sensitive information. For example, a phishing scam may come in the form of an email pretending to be a vendor who needs to confirm account information. It could also be a scammer impersonating a partner who requires client information or employee information. 

Phishing attacks come in many forms and are growing more sophisticated every day. One of the reasons they are so common is because it’s easy for people to misunderstand the identity of legitimate emails in today’s digital world. In addition, phishing attacks are difficult to combat. They are convincing and difficult to trace. 

Plus, rather than target a weakness in a company’s technology, they target people at that business, making it even more challenging to cope with. 

Companies that want to avoid phishing scams should have a few best practices in place. The first step is to educate employees about phishing, what it is, and how to report phishing attempts. Regularly warn employees as part of your irregular newsletter or employee communication plan about recent phishing attacks they should be aware of and watch out for. 

2. Malware Attacks

Malware is the next most significant threat to individuals and businesses. It is software that is designed for malicious purposes. Some of the more common types you may have heard of include viruses and trojan horses. The sole purpose of malware is to exploit a technical weakness to destroy, cripple or damage devices. 

Sometimes damage is the only goal. Other times, the malware is designed to cause damage while accessing sensitive information and data on the user’s device. Getting rid of malware is expensive and difficult. The best defense against malware is to be proactive by running scans often and getting rid of malware before it can take hold of a device. Blocking malware is also advisable by using firewalls and other protective software. 

3. Ransomware Attack 

Ransomware is similar to malware in that an attacker or scammer will gain access to a business by exploiting technological weaknesses. Instead of simply trying to destroy or damage a device, the scammer will lock the device and demand payment, a ransom, to get the device unlocked. 

This happens to individuals, businesses, and even entire cities. Ransomware attackers continue to attack smaller cities that can’t afford high-grade cybersecurity measures. Utilities, databases, and more are held for ransom. More often than not, the city will pay the ransom because it is less expensive than hiring a cybersecurity firm. Instead, they implement better cybersecurity measures after the attack to prevent it from happening again. 

4.DoS Attacks

A denial of service (DoS) attack is a type of cyberattack in which cybercriminals overload a website, network, or server with traffic or requests, causing it to crash and become unavailable to legitimate users. to DoS attacks are commonly used to disrupt the services of a website or network, making it difficult for users to access her website or conduct business online. 

5.Spoofing Attacks

A spoofing attack happens when a hacker poses as a trusted user or device to access a network or system without authorization. This can be achieved through impersonating emails, IP addresses, or websites. Using this tactic, cybercriminals get consumers to divulge private information like login passwords or financial information.

6. Supply Chain Attacks

Supply chain attacks are a type of cyber attack that targets the weakest link in the supply chain of an organization. These attacks are becoming increasingly common, with cybercriminals targeting third-party vendors or suppliers that have access to an organization's network or systems.

7. Code Injection Attacks

Attacks using code injection take place when hackers use software flaws to insert malicious code into a website or application. This may result in the theft of private data or the total control of a network or system.

8. Insider Threats

Insider threats occur when an employee or contractor with authorized access to an organization's network or systems intentionally or unintentionally causes harm to the organization's data or systems. Insider threats can be caused by disgruntled employees, careless mistakes, or malicious insiders.

9. DNS Tunneling

DNS Tunneling is a technique used by cybercriminals to bypass security measures by encoding malicious data within DNS queries and responses. This technique is commonly used to exfiltrate data from a network or to control a compromised system.

10. loT-Based Attacks

The Internet of Things (IoT) refers to a network of interconnected devices that communicate with each other over the internet. IoT-based attacks occur when cybercriminals exploit vulnerabilities in these devices to gain unauthorized access to a network or system.

How to Protect Against Cyber Attacks

With the increasing frequency and sophistication of cyber attacks, it has become essential for individuals, businesses, and organizations to take steps to protect themselves from these threats. Here are some essential measures that you can take to safeguard your digital assets and stay protected against cyber attacks:

1. Use Strong Passwords: Passwords are the first line of defense against cyber attacks. Make sure to use strong and unique passwords for all your online accounts and avoid using the same password for multiple accounts. Also, consider using a password manager to generate and store secure passwords.

2. Keep Your Software Up to Date: Software updates often include security patches that address known vulnerabilities. Ensure that all your software, including your operating system, antivirus, and applications, are up to date to minimize the risk of a cyber attack.

3. Use Two-Factor Authentication: Two-factor authentication (2FA) adds an extra layer of security to your online accounts by requiring a second form of authentication, such as a code or a biometric scan, in addition to your password. Enable 2FA on all your online accounts to protect against unauthorized access.

4. Backup Your Data: Regularly backing up your data is essential in case of a cyber attack or a system failure. Consider using a cloud-based backup service or an external hard drive to store your backups.

5. Be Vigilant of Phishing Attempts: Phishing is a common cyber attack where cybercriminals use social engineering techniques to trick users into revealing sensitive information. Be wary of suspicious emails, messages, or phone calls that ask for personal or financial information. Avoid clicking on links or downloading attachments from unknown sources.

6. Use a Firewall: A firewall is a software or hardware-based network security system that monitors and controls incoming and outgoing network traffic. Ensure that your computer or network has an active firewall to prevent unauthorized access.

7. Educate Yourself and Your Employees: Cybersecurity is a shared responsibility. Educate yourself and your employees about the different types of cyber attacks, best practices for online security, and how to identify and report suspicious activity.

8. Use Encryption: Encryption is the process of converting sensitive data into an unreadable format that can only be decrypted with a key or a password. Consider using encryption to protect your sensitive data, such as financial information, passwords, and other personal information.

9. Limit Access to Sensitive Data: Limiting access to sensitive data is essential to minimize the risk of insider threats. Ensure that only authorized personnel have access to sensitive data, and implement proper access control mechanisms, such as role-based access control and two-factor authentication.

9. Have a Cybersecurity Plan: In case of a cyber attack, having a cybersecurity plan in place can help minimize the damage and expedite the recovery process. Your cybersecurity plan should include steps for identifying and containing the attack, notifying the relevant authorities, and restoring your systems and data.

By implementing the measures discussed above and staying vigilant, you can minimize the risk of falling victim to a cyber attack and safeguard your digital assets. Remember, cybersecurity is a shared responsibility, and we all have a role to play in keeping ourselves and our organizations safe from cyber threats.

Final Conclusion on Common Types of Cyber Attacks

While every business is at risk of cyberattacks, an organization can take plenty of measures to protect themselves, their data, and their clients and employees. 

Phishing attacks require an educated and watchful person who understands what phishing attacks are and how to avoid them. Malware attacks mean every device should have some basic protections in place at all times to deter attackers. And to avoid ransomware, never keep sensitive information on your device. Opt instead for cloud-based computing and added security measures like using a VPN, firewalls, and more. 

In combinations, all of these cybersecurity measures can help reduce the likelihood of all these types of cyber attacks. While you may not be completely protected, something is better than nothing. Scammers look for easy targets. So, set up barriers that will deter attackers from the start.

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