10 Most Common Types of Cyber Attacks in 2023

Most Common types of Cyber Attacks

10 Most Common Types of Cyber Attacks in 2023

To solve any problem, It’s very important to understand it thoroughly.

Right !!!

The same applies to cyber security as well 🙂

Only when you understand the cyber risk/attack, you can take measures to prevent it.

With increasing cyber risks day by day, It is very important to understand-

  • What exactly is the cyber risk or threat or attack?
  • What are some common known attacks, of which most organizations have been victims?
  • How it’s damaging the goodwill of an organization
  • How prepared are we to deal with these cyber risks or threats?

So let’s start with understanding cyber attacks.

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What is Cyber Attack?

Cyber-attack is an attack against computer systems. Hacker exploits the weakness in the computer system or network to gain access to the system or data in an illegal way (i.e. without your consent).

Attackers use various methods including malware (malicious software), phishing etc to-

  • Steal sensitive information
  • Alter or destroy organizational or personal data
  • Making the data or system inaccessible to perform operational activities etc.

Let’s take a close look at the below snapshot –

10 Most Common Types of Cyber Attacks in 2020

we can see here the visualization for the Live threat Map.

You can also check this out through the below link for ongoing live threat now: https://threatmap.checkpoint.com/

As you saw, Every few seconds cyber-attacks are happening worldwide.

Next could be you or your organization if necessary safeguards or controls are not in place to ensure CIA (Confidentiality, Integrity, Availability).

Well, Did I convince you to know the various cyber attacks so that you can protect yourself and your organization?

If you are reading this line, I will take that as a yes !!!

So, What are we waiting for?

Let’s continue with our list of the most common types of cyber attacks 🙂

1. Malware Attack

Malware (i.e. Malicious software), is a very common and well-known attack.

It is a type of attack in which an attacker creates malicious software and installs that software into someone else’s system without their consent.

If you are an active computer user you may have faced something like this. For instance, clicking on a link or visiting a website suddenly started a download.

There are several types of Malware like viruses, worms, Trojan Horses, Spyware, etc.

To sum up, malware is designed to perform activities on victims’ systems without their consent or knowledge to alter, destroy or steal sensitive information.

Impact of Malware Attack

  • Identity theft by accessing your personal information
  • Can control your system and perform illegal actions.
  • Can completely crash your computer system
  • Can slow down the computer/web browser etc

How to prevent it?

  • Always keep your system updated with the latest security updates and patches.
  • Install Anti-virus/Anti-malware software on your system
  • Always be careful to check legitimacy before downloading any software or simply avoid installing software from unknown sources
  • Avoid clicking on suspicious email links as you might end up installing malicious software

2. Denial-Of-Service Attack

Denial-of-Service (DoS) or Distributed Dos is a type of attack in which an attacker aims to halt a system, making it inaccessible to the intended users.

Attackers usually use massive amounts of internet traffic to flood a particular website, server or set of servers to choke the network.

The traffic is too huge to be handled by the system resulting in crashes.

In short, their end goal is to make the system unavailable to the intended users.

Impact of Denial-Of-Service Attack

  • Unplanned massive outage/inaccessible website
  • It can cause huge revenue loss due to the unavailability
  • Complete crash of system or applications

How to prevent it?

  • Building redundancy into your infrastructure
  • Strengthen network security using WAF or IPS/IDS
  • Scale-up bandwidth or enable bandwidth bursting

3. Eavesdropping Attack

An eavesdropping attack is a type of attack which happens when your data travels over an unsecured network.

Attackers take advantage of unsecured communication over the network to steal your information.

It is also known as snooping or sniffing attack, where attackers install a ‘snifter’ to intercept data from the weakened connection.

Impact of Eavesdropping Attack

  • Can steal or eavesdrop on sensitive information
  • Financial or business data loss

How to prevent it?

  • Avoid using public Wi-Fi network, which is highly prone to eavesdropping
  • Encrypt data before it transmits over the network
  • Keeping the latest patches for your antivirus or operating system
  • Strengthen your overall network security

4. Man-in-middle Attack

To be simple, the Man-in-Middle attack is exactly what it sounds like. There is someone in the middle(attacker) between the sender and receiver of data.

In other words, It is a method of attack where an attacker puts himself in between the communication of the sender and receiver and tries to gain access to the information that they are exchanging.

Impact of Man-in-middle Attack

  • Can alter, destroy or steal data in transit
  • It can cause financial or business loss

How to Prevent?

  • Always use encryption before transmitting data
  • Always use HTTPS when visiting any website
  • Strengthen network security

5. Social Engineering Attack

Social engineering is one of the techniques which doesn’t necessarily attack through computer systems.

Casually if I say, social engineering tactics rely on human psychological manipulation.

An attacker may be pretending to be someone as an authority and simply asking for the credential or something to be getting done, which he or she shouldn’t be done by normal means. Attackers may use any other techniques also to get sensitive information disclosed.

The human link is the weakest link in cyberspace. Every individual should go through the necessary training to avoid this kind of manipulation tricks from attackers. It will help improve overall security.

Impact of Social Engineering Attack

  • Sensitive information can be revealed
  • A victim’s Password can be compromised

How to Prevent?

  • Educate employees through regular security awareness sessions
  • Avoid blind trust, and always think before responding to such unusual requests

6. Phishing Attack

Phishing is also a type of social engineering attack where an attacker pretends to be a trusted entity for instance your bank and dupes you to reveal sensitive information like your username/password.

Attackers basically target certain users or groups to trick them into clicking the malicious links sent over e-mail or text messages.

Impact of Phishing Attack

  • An attacker can install Malware (Ransomware etc.) into the system using a phishing link
  • It can trick victims to expose their credentials

How to prevent it?

  • Do not open any attachments from unknown senders
  • Avoid clicking a suspicious embedded malicious link

7. Ransomware Attack

Ransomware is not a type of malware. It’s very common nowadays. Even lots of hospitals or health care, IT organizations and Government offices have been victims of it.

once the attacker gets hold of your data, they threaten to either expose your data publicly or encrypt it together making it inaccessible for you till a ransom amount is paid to them(Usually through cryptocurrency).

Impact of Ransomware Attack

  • Data can be lost or wiped out as everything is getting encrypted and only accessible to the attacker, who has a decryption key
  • It can cause financial loss due to the unavailability of critical applications
  • Goodwill loss, as sensitive data can be exposed later by attackers to publicly available websites

How to prevent it?

  • Regular backup of your data and testing restoration
  • Keeping the system up-to-date with the latest vendor patches

8. Cross-site scripting (XSS) Attack

Do you know that 1 out of 3 websites is vulnerable to cross-site scripting?

Yes, you read that right!!!

Cross-site scripting is basically a type of code injection attack. It happens on the client side i.e. web browser.

An attacker simply injects a malicious code/script into a web page, Which results in altering the application code(HTML/JavaScript) that was supposed to be delivered to the end user.

So, when a user of an application visits a web page, Malicious code gets executed and the attacker is successful in getting something done which was not originally intended.

Impact of Cross-Site Scripting

  • Session Hijacking- The attacker takes over the user’s session(In simple terms session is nothing but the time you login into a system such as a banking application till you log out.)
  • Deface Content- Changing the content of the page to something they want and unintended
  • Credential theft

How to Prevent?

  • Organize awareness sessions among web developers, testers and the team.
  • Never ever trust any user input and sanitize it before sending it as output to the end user.
  • Run vulnerability assessments for XSS and fix them.

9. SQL Injection Attack

Similar to cross-site scripting, SQL injection is also a code injection attack. However, it occurs on the server side i.e. on a database of the application.

Here an attacker injects malicious SQL code into an application through a web page. When the application executes this malicious code, it ends up exposing all the data to the attacker.

Impact of SQL Injection

  • Sensitive data like credit card info or passwords can be stolen
  • Data can be altered or destroyed altogether
  • An attacker can even become the administrator of the database server and can cause severe damage to the data

How to Prevent?

  • The very first and foremost step is to never trust any user input and sanitize it before using it
  • Use prepared statements/parameterized queries 
  • Use Web Applications Firewall

10. Password Attack

A password attack is a very common type of attack where a hacker tries to gain access to your system by guessing or stealing your password.

Attackers are using several techniques or tricks to obtain your login details to achieve their goals.

  • It could be a Brute Force Attack(Rely on discovering or guessing all combinations of passwords till it succeeds)
  • Dictionary Attack (Another Brute Force attack were guessing or discovering password using well-known passphrase or dictionary word combinations to hack the login credentials)
  • Key logger method (By installing malware into the victim’s system to track or monitor the keystrokes) or some other techniques.

Impact of password attack

As we know user credentials are used to authenticate a system, applications etc, once it’s compromised, hackers will have full control, they can steal, alter or altogether they can even destroy or disrupt normal operations too.

How to Prevent?

Here are some of the basic tips or tricks which can be used to minimize the risk of getting your credentials compromised.

  • Always use strong passwords with combinations of capital letters, small letters, special characters and numbers
  • Always make sure to change the default passwords of all your account
  • Do not choose a password which can be guessed easily like any Dictionary word or Pet name or your DOB etc.
  • Change your password frequently
  • Enable Dual-factor authentication on your account.

Conclusion –

As we say prevention is better than cure. I hope you got an overall idea about some of the most common types of cyber attacks.

Always follow security best practices while designing and developing your application if you are a developer.

Even if you are a simple web user, follow some of the guidelines-

  • Having a strong password and updating regularly
  • Enabling Dual-factor authentication
  • Never click any link from an unknown source
  • Always be careful to check legitimacy before downloading any software or simply avoid installing software from unknown sources
  • Keeping your system up-to-date with the latest patches etc.

Well, That was my take on the most common types of cyber attacks. Do let me know your feedback.

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2 thoughts on “10 Most Common Types of Cyber Attacks in 2023

  1. This article on cybersecurity is very much informative. The url to observe the live cyber threats clearly will helps us to acknowledge the risk and awareness to take the precautions before the sensitivity information getting compermised.

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