7 Most Common Types of Cyber Attacks

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A cyber attack is a malicious and deliberate attempt to change, destroy, or steal data, as well as exploit or harm a network. Cyber attacks affect individuals and organizations every day, and cybercrime is intensifying every year as attackers improve their efficiency and sophistication. While there are many different ways to infiltrate an IT system, most cyber attacks rely on fairly similar techniques. Here are seven of the most common types of cyber attacks your business should be aware of. 

1. Malware

Malware is a general term for malicious software, including spyware, ransomware, and viruses. Malware infects a computer or other device and changes how it functions, destroys data, or spies on the user or network traffic. A malware attack requires the user to initiate the attack by clicking on a dangerous link or email attachment. Malware is usually installed on the target device and requires an interactive user experience.

2. Phishing

A phishing attack occurs when an attacker tries to trick an unsuspecting victim into handing over valuable information, such as passwords, credit card or social security information, and intellectual property. Phishing attacks often arrive in the form of an email pretending to be from a trusted, legitimate source using a combination of social engineering and technology. It is perhaps the most common type of cyber attack because it is both simple to execute and effective.

3. Man-in-the-Middle (MitM) Attack

Man-in-the-middle (MitM) attacks, also known as eavesdropping attacks, are where an attacker intercepts the communication between two parties in an attempt to spy on the victims and filter and steal data. The two parties involved feel like they’re communicating as they normally do, however, the attacker illicitly modifies or accesses the message before it reaches its destination. The common points of entry for MitM attacks are:

Unsecured Public WiFi Connection 

On an unsecured public WiFi connection, an attacker can insert themselves between a victim’s device and the network. 

Software Installation

Once the malware has breached a device, an attacker can install software to process all of the victim’s information.

4. Distributed Denial-of-Service (DDoS) Attack

A distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attack floods systems, servers, or networks with illegitimate requests in an attempt to disrupt, or even bring down the target. Unlike traditional denial-of-service attacks, which can be detected by most firewalls, a DDoS attack can leverage multiple compromised devices to bombard the target with traffic. With a successful DDoS attack, the system often has to come offline, increasing vulnerability to other types of threats.  

5. SQL Injection

Structured query language (SQL) injection is a common method of taking advantage of websites that depend on databases to serve their users. An attacker “injects” malicious code into a server that uses SQL and forces the server to reveal information it normally would not.  If the database permissions have not been set properly, the attacker may be able to exploit the HTML form to execute queries that create, read, modify, or delete the data stored in the database. 

6. Zero-day Exploit

A zero-day exploit happens after a network vulnerability is announced but before a patch or solution is implemented. An attacker then targets organizations who are using that software to exploit the vulnerability before a fix becomes available. These attacks are rarely discovered right away — it often takes days, months, or even years before a developer learns of the vulnerability that led to an attack. 

7. DNS Tunneling

Domain name system, or DNS, is used to translate user-friendly URLs into machine-friendly IP addresses. Since DNS is not intended for data transfer, many organizations fail to monitor DNS traffic for malicious activity and therefore become subject to DNS tunneling. Attackers can insert or “tunnel” malware into DNS queries that are used to create a persistent communication channel and exfiltrate data. 

Expert Cyber Security Services at Mindcore

As IT systems continue to evolve, so do cyber attacks. It’s important to stay up to date with the latest security threats in order to keep your organization’s systems protected. At Mindcore, we provide a full suite of cyber security services in New Jersey and Florida to help you get greater visibility over your data and defend against cyber criminals. Contact us to speak with one of our IT specialists today.

Learn More About Matt

Matt Rosenthal is a technology and business strategist as well as the President of Mindcore, the leading IT solutions provider in New Jersey. Mindcore offers a broad portfolio of IT services and solutions tailored to help businesses take back control of their technology, streamline their business and outperform their competition.

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