What are the Most Common Types of Cyberattacks?
The internet can be an incredibly helpful and useful tool in life, but there is also an element of risk online. Some individuals can have malicious intent behind their actions on the internet – actions that can harm others. One form these actions can take are cyberattacks.
Cyberattacks are designed to expose, steal or destroy through unauthorised access. They can target a computer, mobile device, or network.
As cyberattacks are becoming more sophisticated, it’s important to know the common types. You can then be aware of what to look out for and take steps to protect yourself.
Distributed Denial-of-Service (DDoS)
A DDoS attack is a common form of cyberattack that targets an individual network or entire server. The aim is to disrupt traffic flow by flooding it with additional traffic to overload it. These attacks can focus on disputing services for businesses online, especially those within the gaming industry.
They are carried out by using many compromised computer systems. The infected systems (known as bots or zombies) are remotely directed by an attacker. Think of it like a backed-up motorway, making it impossible to merge from a slip road.
Signs your network or server is experiencing a DDoS attack can be:
– A significant amount of traffic coming from a single IP address
– Lots of traffic exhibiting the same profile (device, geo-location, browser)
– An unnatural traffic pattern at strange times
– A random surge in page requests for one specific point on your site
This is possibly the most common form of cyber attack people experience. It’s also been the attack that’s increased in frequency last year with people working from home.
Phishing attacks involve tricking people into providing personal information of high value. This could be debit or credit card details, passwords, online banking information, or similar.
They typically spoof emails from legitimate organisations to get you to trust them. Links may be included with a message prompting you to click them.
The term brings together the phrase “malicious software” into one simple word. While there are many types of malware out there, they all share the same goal. They are designed to cause damage to a computer, server, or network.
You can find different strains of malware designed to do various things, such as:
– Pose as desirable software that can then exploit a network (trojans)
– Spy on users to gain personal information (spyware)
– Disrupt the usual functions of a computer or network (worms)
– Encrypt a user’s files and demand payment for access (ransomware)
They can typically be caught by cybersecurity software like anti-virus and anti-malware programs. The first line of defence is being conscious of where you are downloading things from. Suspicious links and sites should be avoided when interacting online.
Man-in-the-middle attacks (MITM)
Although less common these days, man-in-the-middle attacks aim to intercept the communications between two parties. This could be done to steal personal information for financial gain.
Attackers will position themselves between you and the entity you’re interacting with. That could be a website or another person, but the attacker can observe everything you do. Those with unsecured networks are especially vulnerable to this type of attack.
What can you do to protect yourself from cyberattacks?
Investing in the right software can give you a good level of protection for your online activities. A strong firewall and securing your network can provide the first line of defence.
You can further boost your security by looking into VPN protection to mask your IP address and prevent data from being intercepted.
Finally, having quality anti-virus software will help protect you if malware makes it through your initial security. Having a greater awareness of cyberattacks will also help minimise the risk of falling for an attack.