A cyber attack is a sequence of actions performed by a threat actor to obtain unauthorized access to a computer, computer network, or other computing systems to intentionally steal data, harm innocent people, or launch attacks from a compromised computer. To launch a cyberattack, cybercriminals utilize many methods, including phishing, ransomware, malware, man-in-the-middle attack, and denial of service, among others.
Phishing is used to steal user credentials and sensitive data such as credit card numbers and social security numbers or install malware on a victim’s machine. An attacker usually sends fraudulent communications that appear to be from a reputable source. Specifically, scammers send emails or text messages containing malicious links in a manner that seems to originate from legitimate senders.
Denial-of-Service (DoS) and Distributed Denial-of-Service (DDoS) attacks send malicious and spam requests to a system or network, severely restricting the ability to perform and serve legitimate users and requests. This attack is frequently used to set up another attack.
Vishing combines voice and phishing in which an attacker tricks a victim to steal personal and confidential information. It is a social engineering attack as it relies on psychology to convince victims to give sensitive information or perform an action for the attacker’s benefit.
Malware attacks are common types of cyberattacks in which malware (usually malicious software) performs unauthorized actions like stealing personal, financial, or business information on the victim’s system. Malicious software is created in several forms, including ransomware, spyware, and command and control.
Ransomware is malware that threatens to expose or limit access to data or a computer system by encrypting valuable data or limiting system functionality. Cybercriminals demand monetary incentives (ransom) for releasing the system after encrypting or locking the data. A deadline is typically attached to the ransom demand. If the victim does not pay the ransom on time, the data will be lost permanently, or the ransom will be increased.
A man-in-the-middle (MiTM) attack occurs when an attacker intercepts and distributes messages between two participants who think they are interacting directly and securely. Participants who send emails, instant messages, or video conferencing are unaware that an attacker has inserted themselves into the conversation and is collecting and manipulating their information.
A Brute-force Attack is an attempt to find a credential, such as a password, using computer-based automated trial and error. The attack involves automated spraying of all possible character combinations and lengths into a password field until a match. Brute-force attacks are successful when the authentication protocol of an online service complements this type of attack. Shared secrets between the service and the user provide the highest probability of success for a brute-force attacker.
Any cyberattack that targets an Internet of Things (IoT) device or network is known as an IoT attack. Once the device has been hacked, the hacker can take control of it, steal data, or join a network of infected devices to execute DoS or DDoS attacks.
A keylogger is spyware that logs a user’s activity by logging keystrokes. Every key pushed on the keyboard is captured and forwarded to a malicious actor when the spyware installs a keylogger on a device. As a result, the attacker will have access to data streams that help find user passwords and other sensitive information. Keylogger spyware is generally installed on the user’s device by unintentionally clicking on a malicious link or attachment.
Cyberattacks are becoming ever more common and sophisticated, mostly with financial motives.
While preventative cybersecurity tactics vary by attack type, you should follow best security practices and practice IT hygiene for mitigating these attacks.