A cyber attack is an external attempt to get unauthorized access to and perform destructive actions on a victim’s computer or network. It usually starts with hacking, wherein an attacker compromises the security of a system and then gains control of it.

Hackers then use compromised computers and devices for various malicious schemes. They can alter, expose, or disable these systems, depending on their motives. They can also turn them into bots or use them as entry points to steal confidential data. Some are even turned into parts of their criminal network to throw law enforcement agents off their scent.

Read More about a Cyber Attack

Cyber attacks have become a household name within the last decade, as cybercriminals target all kinds of individuals and organizations. Learn more about cyber attacks below. 

What Are the Most Common Types of Cyber Attacks?

Here are some of the most common types of cyber attacks:

  • Malware: This is a malicious software developed to harm or disrupt a system or network. Malware can include viruses, worms, Trojans, ransomware, spyware, and other harmful programs. They are often spread through email attachments, infected websites, or malicious software downloads.
  • Phishing: In this type of cyber attack, threat actors try to trick people into revealing their passwords, account credentials, Social Security numbers, credit card numbers, and other sensitive information. Phishing attacks often take the form of emails or websites that appear to be from legitimate sources. 
  • Denial-of-service (DoS) attacks: A DoS attack aims to overwhelm a target system with traffic, making it unavailable to legitimate users. DoS attackers often carry out attacks by flooding a server with requests or using other techniques to consume its resources.
  • Man-in-the-middle (MitM) attacks: In an MitM attack, threat actors intercept communications between two parties and eavesdrop on or modify it. That may allow attackers to hijack sessions or steal sensitive information.
  • Supply chain attacks: Supply chain attacks target third-party service providers or vendors to gain access to larger organizations. By compromising a supplier, attackers can insert malicious code into products or services that are then used to infiltrate the target organization. 
  • Internet of Things (IoT)-based attacks: The increasing number of Internet-connected devices has created a new attack vector for cybercriminals. IoT devices often have weak security controls, making them easy targets for attackers.

Why Do Threat Actors Perform Cyber Attacks?

Threat actors perform cyber attacks for various reasons, but the most common motivations include:

  • Financial gain: This is the most common motive behind cyber attacks. Cybercriminals steal credit card information and other valuable data that they can sell on the Dark Web. They may even steal money directly from a hacked bank account. They may also use ransomware to encrypt data and then demand a ransom payment.
  • Espionage: Nation-states and other organizations use cyber attacks to access sensitive information, such as trade secrets, military plans, or government intelligence. This information can be used to gain a competitive advantage, blackmail governments, or disrupt critical infrastructure operations.
  • Hacktivism: These are performed by politically motivated individuals or groups who use cyber attacks to protest against governments, corporations, or other organizations. Hacktivists may launch DoS attacks to disrupt websites or services, deface websites, or leak sensitive information.
  • Thrill-seeking: Some hackers are motivated by the challenge of hacking into systems and the thrill of getting away with it. They may be less sophisticated than other types of threat actors, but they can still be very dangerous.

What Are the Sources of Cyber Attacks?

Cyber attackers can come from inside or outside of a target organization. For example, cybercriminal groups and nation-state attackers are external actors who may patiently observe a target before launching an attack.

However, attackers can also come from within an organization. Employees or contractors with authorized access to systems may use that access to launch cyber attacks. Insider threats can be motivated by financial gain, revenge, or ideology.

Cybersecurity threats constantly evolve, and new types of attacks always emerge. Individuals and organizations must keep pace with the latest threats and implement robust cybersecurity measures to protect against cyber attacks.

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