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What Are the Types of Attacks in Cybersecurity?

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Cybersecurity is not just about safeguarding your company’s entire network. Ignoring the establishment of comprehensive digital security systems leaves your business exposed to devastating operational repercussions in the future. There are different types of attacks in cybersecurity that include, but are not limited to hacking, data breaches, and viruses. These threats can compromise your company in many ways. 

What’s even more frustrating is the majority of these incidents are preventable by administering relatively routine but effective security measures. Insider threats, such as from a disgruntled employee, are more alarming because of how hard it is to predict them and gain control. But, the bottom line is, certain companies have more to lose than only finances should they face a cyber-attack.       

In previous years, executive protection only concerned itself with physical security. However, in the age of cybercrime, an increasing number of executives are becoming the targets for cyber-attacks. And if an executive is at risk, so are is the organization and its supply chain.     

For many years physical security specialists focused on a 3G environment; Guns, Gates, and Guards. As threats continue to present themselves in more nuanced ways, protectors who wish to remain on the forefront of a defensive posture have embraced a 4G world: guns, gates, guards, and gigabytes.

Digitally based threats are now commonplace and directly affect the working environment, requiring both physical and digital defenders to continue to strive for common operating information. Without the common understanding to combat issues, we risk missing the apparent problem or understanding the more significant implications.

Charles Randolph, Senior Director of Operations, AT-RISK International, Inc.

Common Types of Attacks in Cybersecurity Can Devastate an Enterprise    

On that note, how about we discuss common types of attacks in cybersecurity and why ignoring threats is a bad idea. Spyware, ransomware, viruses, and worms forms of malicious software used by cybercriminals to gain access to and damage a computer or network, thus retrieving data.    

Infected emails used in phishing schemes are less complicated and well-known ways to infect a computer. The more sophisticated malware attacks are much harder to detect. And, the harder it is to uncover, the greater the risk for devastating consequences.   

types of attacks in cybersecurity

Common Types of Cyber Threats 

Drive-by downloads:  

All a user has to do is visit an infected website using an exploit kit and if a vulnerability is found in the software of your browser it injects malware via the security hole. For the attacker, no interaction is needed on your part other than visiting the webpage.    

Man in the middle (MitM) attacks:   

Using poorly secured or unsecured routers, e.g. public WIFI internet, hackers will use special codes to scan the router and identify any weaknesses. If a vulnerability, such as poor login credentials is detected, attackers will steal this personal information to sabotage communications, spy on victims, and corrupt data. It is about intercepting communications between two parties to redirect funds, resources, or information.      

Distributed Denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks:  

An effective method of attack that works to disrupt normal traffic of servers or networks by clogging up the highway and cause a denial-of-service, i.e. making it hard for users to arrive at their destination. These attacks usually happen in short bursts, but may also last days, weeks, or months at a time.   

Social engineering and malware attacks:  

Some of the toughest cybercrimes simply because they rely on human error more than any protocol or technological system. For this process to work, attackers must contact their victims directly, whether through email or in person. For instance, a well-disguised cybercriminal offers you a USB or CD to install, that just so happens to have a virus.  

Protect Your Company from Common Types of Attacks in Cybersecurity    

Before you write off USB drops as potential and devastating attacks, consider the consequential devastations compromised USB devices could make within your organization. In fact, phishing attacks are very common global occurrences. In 2019, the State of the Phish Report found an overwhelming 83 % of respondents experienced phishing attacks in 2018 alone.  

Furthermore, because of the pandemic, we have faced in the past two years, an explosion of Covid-themed phishing scams has become a challenge that needs to be dealt with. Thinking about cybersecurity prevention methods is more relevant now than ever.    

Social engineering:  

Other than using intrusion methods, hackers collect information, whether directly or indirectly, through various forms of persuasion. They gather crucial information from employees, without their consent. 

Make sure your employees are aware of attacks in cybersecurity:  

Given that data protection is heavily dependent on the human factor nowadays, this is perhaps the most significant step. Employees need to know about cyber-attacks and how to avoid exposing sensitive information publicly. Any leak leads to easy systematic and network attacks. 

Have a WAF:  

The use of a “web application firewall” (“WAF”) helps filter and monitor HTTP traffic. Deploying a “WAF” to protect a specific “web application” or set of “web applications”, places a shield between the web applications and the internet. In this way, malicious traffic is filtered out. Also, remember to use “HTTPS” security rather than “HTTP”. 

Install anti-malware and antivirus protection:  

When installing any plugin for your website make sure it is free of malware and other viruses. Furthermore, always keep your hardware up-to-date when installing browser updates. 

Don’t Risk Your Business by Ignoring Cybersecurity 

Corporate leaders and executives are the most common targets for cyberattacks. For potential impersonators, executives serve as a great entry point to cause havoc. Further, threat actors will also target the principal’s family and associates to make catastrophic security breaches. Sadly, CEOs resign over such havoc.    

For this reason, corporate leaders should implement mandatory cybersecurity training for all employees to protect their company’s sensitive and personal information. Such awareness training would cover the protection strategies mentioned above and lead to insights into digital threats. Thereby, helping detect early events of security and data breaches.   

CEOs might consider having the talent (i.e. data scientists) come to analyze their data. Data science is used for real-time monitoring. Through the use of comprehensive analytics, things like, predictions, anomaly detection, pattern finding, classifications, and forecasts are possible. This means that businesses can stay a few steps ahead of danger. And if an impending crisis is unavoidable, plan for much more effective solutions. 

Final Words 

Cyber-attacks are increasing in number and there’s no shortage of new schemes attackers will try to infiltrate an organization’s data. The use of secure passphrases, routine patching, multi-factor authentication processes, and the encryption of information are helpful prevention tactics from many attacks.    

The fact is, total elimination of the possibility of a cyber-attack is not possible. Even the best defense systems can fail, so it’s worth considering investing in a cybersecurity insurance plan. This way, you can protect your organization from financial devastation should a cyber-attack occur.    

One of the most vital things any organization can do is implement fundamental protection procedures to secure your company from unexpected cybersecurity threats. As such, taking the steps to protect digital devices and accounts and thus, decrease the risk of a data breach. 

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