How to Recognize and Avoid 15 Common Cyber Attacks
Cyber attacks are harmful actions that aim to break into, damage, or take over your computer system or network. Cyber attackers use different ways and tools to find and exploit weaknesses, steal your data, interrupt your work, or harm your devices. Knowing how to recognize and avoid different cyber attacks can help you stay safe and secure online. Here are 15 common cyber attacks you should be aware of:
Table of ContentsToggle
Phishing is when someone sends you a fake email or message that looks like it comes from a real source, such as your bank, your company, or the government. They want to trick you into clicking on a bad link, opening a bad attachment, or giving them your personal information, such as passwords, credit card numbers, or identity details.
Malware is any bad software that is made to hurt or infect your computer system or network. Malware can include viruses, worms, trojans, ransomware, spyware, adware, rootkits, and more. Malware can get into your system through different ways, such as email attachments, downloads, removable media, or hacked websites.
Ransomware is a kind of malware that locks your files or your device and asks you for money to unlock them. Ransomware can affect you or your organization and can cause big losses and problems. Some examples of ransomware are CryptoLocker, WannaCry, and Ryuk.
Denial-of-service (DoS) attack
A DoS attack is when someone tries to overload your computer system or network with a lot of traffic or requests, making it unable to work properly or respond to real users. A DoS attack can make your system slow down, crash, or stop working. A DoS attack can come from one source or many sources (called a distributed denial-of-service or DDoS attack).
Man-in-the-middle (MITM) attack
A MITM attack is when someone gets in between the communication of two parties without them knowing or agreeing. A MITM attacker can listen to, change, or redirect the data that is exchanged between the parties. A MITM attack can affect the privacy, accuracy, or trustworthiness of the communication. Some examples of MITM attacks are session hijacking, DNS spoofing, and HTTPS spoofing.
SQL injection is when someone takes advantage of a weakness in a web application that uses a SQL database. SQL injection is when someone puts bad SQL statements into an input field or a URL parameter that is sent to the database server. This can let the attacker run any commands on the database server, such as accessing, changing, deleting, or creating data.
Cross-site scripting (XSS)
XSS is when someone takes advantage of a weakness in a web application that lets the attacker put bad code into a web page that is seen by other users. The bad code can run in the browser of the users and do different things on their behalf, such as stealing cookies, session tokens, credentials, or personal information; sending them to bad websites; or showing them fake content.
Brute force attack
A brute force attack is when someone tries many possible combinations of passwords or keys to get into a system or service. A brute force attacker can use automated tools or scripts to make and test different passwords or keys until they find the right one. A brute force attack can be stopped by using strong passwords or keys and having security features such as captcha, lockout policies, or multi-factor authentication.
Password cracking is when someone recovers passwords from stored data or encrypted communication. Password cracking can be done by using different methods and techniques, such as dictionary attacks, rainbow tables, hashcat, or John the Ripper. Password cracking can be used for good reasons such as checking password strength or getting back forgotten passwords; or for bad reasons such as getting into unauthorized accounts or systems.
A zero-day exploit is when someone uses a weakness that is unknown to the public or the maker of the affected software or hardware. A zero-day exploit gives the attacker an edge over the defenders who have no time to fix or reduce the weakness before it is used. A zero-day exploit can be used to break into systems, put malware, take data, or harm devices.
A botnet is a network of infected devices that are controlled by an attacker from afar. A botnet can include computers, smartphones, IoT devices, or any other device that can connect to the internet. A botnet can be used for different purposes such as starting DDoS attacks, sending spam emails, mining cryptocurrencies, or taking data.
A drive-by download is when someone downloads and installs malware on your device without you knowing or agreeing when you visit a hacked website. A drive-by download can use weaknesses in your browser, plugins, or operating system of your device; or use tricks such as fake alerts, pop-ups, or banners to make you click on bad links or buttons.
Rogue access point
A rogue access point is an unauthorized wireless access point that is set up by an attacker near a real wireless network. A rogue access point can be used to get in between and change the wireless traffic between the users and the real access point; or to attract users into connecting to it by copying the name and look of the real network. A rogue access point can affect the security and privacy of the users and expose them to different attacks such as MITM, phishing, or malware infection.
A keylogger is a kind of malware that records and sends every keystroke you make on your device keyboard. A keylogger can capture sensitive information such as passwords, credit card numbers, personal details, or secret messages that you type on your device keyboard; and send it to an attacker who can use it for bad purposes such as identity theft, fraud, or blackmail.
A backdoor is a hidden feature or way in a software or hardware that lets an attacker go around normal security controls and get unauthorized access to a system or network A backdoor can be made on purpose by the developer for testing purposes; made by mistake due to coding errors; or put in by an attacker who has broken into the software development process or supply chain of the software or hardware A backdoor can be used by an attacker to remotely control, watch, or change the system or network without being caught.
These are some of the most common cyber attacks you should be aware of and how they work. By being aware of these cyber attacks and their possible impact; you can take steps to protect yourself and your organization from becoming targets of cybercrime.