Cyber threats in the digital realm: What could be lurking
If you work in the field of cybersecurity, you know firsthand the severity of internet attacks. From infiltrating critical infrastructure and breaching data to spear phishing and brute force assaults, cyber dangers spare no one.
We often hear the term “cyber threats” in the media, but do we truly grasp its meaning? A cybersecurity threat refers to any malicious act aimed at harming, stealing, or disrupting data and digital life in general. Computer viruses, data breaches, and Denial of Service (DoS) attacks exemplify such attacks.
Main types of cyber threats
#1 DoS and DDoS attacks
A denial-of-service (DoS) attack overwhelms a system’s resources to the point where it cannot respond to legitimate service requests. Similarly, a distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attack aims to drain a system’s resources. The attacker initiates a DDoS attack using a vast array of malware-infected host machines under their control. These attacks are referred to as “denial of service” because the victim site cannot provide service to legitimate users.
DoS and DDoS attacks differ from other cyber attacks that aim to gain access to systems or increase existing access, as in these cases, the attacker directly benefits from their efforts. In contrast, the objective of DoS and DDoS network attacks is simply to disrupt the target’s service. If the attacker is hired by a business competitor, they may gain financial benefits from these attacks.
#2 Phishing attacks
Malicious actors orchestrate phishing attacks by sending deceptive emails disguised as trusted sources to pilfer sensitive information. Phishing attacks combine social engineering tactics with technology and derive their name from the attacker’s objective of luring victims toward unauthorized access. To execute these attacks, perpetrators often employ fraudulent links that redirect users to websites harboring malware, which can compromise personal data or infiltrate the target’s device. Often, victims remain oblivious to the attack, allowing the attacker to infiltrate other members within the same organization discreetly. Preventing phishing attacks necessitates a vigilant evaluation of email complacency and cautiousness when clicking on links.
#3 Man-in-the-middle (MITM) attack
Cyber attacks known as Man-in-the-middle (MITM) involve breaching cybersecurity defenses, allowing an attacker to eavesdrop on the communication between two parties, networks, or computers. The attacker positions themselves between the two parties, effectively spying on their interaction.
During an MITM attack, the communicating parties remain unaware of the unauthorized modifications or access made by the attacker. To safeguard yourself and your organization against MITM attacks, employ strong encryption on access points or utilize a virtual private network (VPN). In this matter, it is important to understand communication protocols. Expand your knowledge that it is better to choose PPTP vs OpenVPN for data privacy […]
Ransomware holds the victim’s system hostage until the victim agrees to pay a ransom to the attacker. After the victim sends the payment, the attacker gives instructions on how to regain control of their computer. The term “ransomware” is fitting because it describes the malware’s demand for a ransom from the victim.
In a ransomware attack, the target downloads the ransomware either from a website or through an email attachment. The malware exploits vulnerabilities that the system’s manufacturer or IT team has not addressed. Subsequently, the ransomware encrypts the target’s workstation. Occasionally, ransomware can target multiple parties by denying access to several computers or a crucial central server required for business operations.
#5 SQL injection attack
SQL injection is a prevalent technique that exploits websites relying on databases to cater to their users. Computers, acting as clients, retrieve information from servers and execute an SQL query to attack the underlying database. This attack involves inserting an injected command into a data plane, replacing normal entries like passwords or logins. Subsequently, the server executes the injected command, leading to unauthorized access.
When SQL injection occurs, it can result in various consequences, such as the disclosure of sensitive data, and the modification or deletion of crucial information. Additionally, attackers can perform administrative operations, like initiating a shutdown command and disrupting the database’s functionality.
#6 DNS spoofing
DNS spoofing occurs when a hacker modifies DNS records, redirecting traffic to a fake or “spoofed” website. On this fraudulent site, victims may unknowingly provide sensitive information that the hacker can exploit or sell. Some attackers may even create low-quality websites with derogatory or inflammatory content, tarnishing the reputation of a competitor company.
In a DNS spoofing attack, the attacker capitalizes on the victim’s trust in the legitimacy of the visited site. This enables the attacker to carry out illegal activities under the guise of an innocent company.
These are just some of the attacks you may encounter on the Internet. If you are aware of the risks, you can counteract them. Don’t delude yourself that you’ll never get caught. In certain circumstances, anyone can fall for scammers. However, more prepared people have minimal chances of stumbling upon such a sophisticated hacker attack.