Our lives have become much more comfortable because of the digital devices we own and all the things we can do on the internet. However, these technological advances have made protecting personal data more difficult. Cybercriminals are specialists in stealing your information, and there are many different ways they can do it. This blog post will explore a cyber attack, the most common types of cyber attacks, and how you can protect yourself against them.
What is a Cyber Attack?
A cyber attack is a third party’s unauthorized access to a system or network. That third party is known as a hacker or cyber attacker. Cyber attacks can have several adverse effects, including data breaches that result in the loss or manipulation of data. For example, if a business or other organization gets hacked, this can result in a loss of customer trust and a damaged reputation.
Cyber security is essential to combat cyber attacks. It safeguards networks, computers, and all components from unauthorized access. With cyber attacks on a steep rise over the past few years, it is more important than ever to know what kinds of cyber attacks are out there and how to prevent them.
What are the Most Common Types of Cyber Attacks?
There is a wide variety of cyber attacks that can occur. Some affect individuals, while others are designed to hamper businesses. Here is a list of the ten most common cyber attacks and how they work:
- Malware Attack: This refers to malicious software viruses, including worms, spyware, ransomware, adware, and trojans. These viruses all operate slightly differently, but they all breach your network through the same vulnerability: human error. When a user clicks a link that looks legitimate but is not, it downloads an attachment that infects the system.
- Phishing Attack: These cyber attacks are one of the most widespread types and target social engineering. Victims are sent a fake message or email from someone they think is a trusted contact, but once they click on a malicious link or open an attachment, the attackers gain access to private data. Malware can also be installed through a phishing attack.
- Password Attack: This is a type of cyber attack where a hacker cracks your password using a program, tool, or brute force.
- Man-in-the-Middle (MITM) Attack: This is also known as an eavesdropping attack, where the hacker comes in between two-party communications. For example, the hacker hijacks a session between a client and host and then steals or manipulates data.
- Structured Query Language (SQL) Injection: This type of cyber attack occurs on a database-driven website. It involves injecting malicious code into a website search box, which makes the server reveal sensitive information. Hackers can sometimes also gain admin privileges through this type of cyber attack.
- Denial-of-Service Attack: In this cyber attack, hackers target a system, server, or network and flood it with traffic, which exhausts their bandwidth. This causes the servers to become overwhelmed, and the website either slows dramatically or crashes. Legitimate requests are then left unanswered.
- Insider Threat: In the case of this cyber attack, it comes from within the organization being attacked. Insider threats generally happen within small businesses, as there is a lot of account and data sharing.
- Cryptojacking: This cyber attack relates to cryptocurrency and occurs when a hacker accesses someone else’s computer for crypto mining. This happens via infecting a website or getting the victim to click a malicious link. It works in the background, so victims are often unaware until it is too late.
- Zero-Day Exploit: This cyber attack happens after a network vulnerability gets announced. The attackers target the disclosed vulnerability before it can be fixed.
- Watering Hole Attack: The victim of this cyber attack is a group or organization. In this attack, the hackers target websites frequently used by the victim and infect them with malware, which then infects the victim’s system.
How Do You Prevent Cyber Attacks?
Preventing cyber-attacks may seem daunting now that you know how many different types there are, but don’t worry! There are plenty of ways to combat cyber attacks. Here are ten simple steps you can take to help prevent cyber attacks in your personal life or your organization:
- Change your passwords. This one seems like a no-brainer, but you would be surprised how many people do not change passwords regularly or do not use strong alphanumeric passwords. You should also not use the same password twice, and do not leave your passwords written where others could see them.
- Update your operating system and applications. Again, this step seems straightforward, but many folks do not do it regularly. Updating regularly removes vulnerabilities that hackers like to exploit.
- Use antivirus software. Trusted antivirus software can make all the difference when trying to fend off hackers. Also, take advantage of a firewall and other network security tools, like intrusion prevention systems.
- Do not open emails from unknown senders. Make sure you analyze the emails you receive before you open them. Check them for loopholes or significant grammatical/spelling errors.
- Use a VPN. A VPN encrypts the traffic between the VPN server and your device, which makes a hacker’s job much more difficult.
- Backup your data. Most cybersecurity professionals agree that you should have at least three copies of your data on two different media types and another copy in cloud storage. If you are hacked, you can erase your system data and replace it with a recent backup that has not been compromised.
- Make employees aware of cybersecurity. If you are the head of an organization or business, ensure that your employees know the basic principles of cybersecurity and what to watch out for in cyber-attacks.
- Use two-factor authentication. Many websites and apps offer two-factor authentication, which requires users to provide two different authentication factors to verify that they are the account holder. This makes it much harder for hackers to gain access to your account.
- Always use a secure Wi-Fi network. Ensure your routers are operating securely and avoid using public Wi-Fi, especially if you do not have a VPN.
- Safeguard your mobile devices. In addition to computers, tablets and phones are targets for hackers, so these devices must also be secure. Only install apps from trusted sources and always keep your devices updated.
If you don’t have the right cyber security measures, your business can become subject to cyber crimes that can potentially leave sensitive data vulnerable and disrupt your business. Contact us at MSG and allow us to identify and protect against harmful cyber threats before they have the chance to attack.