A Beginner’s Guide to Cybersecurity: Types of Cyber Attacks

A Beginner’s Guide to Cybersecurity: Types of Cyber Attacks

With the ever-increasing use, popularity, and dependence on the internet, cyber-attacks and crimes have surged dramatically. In fact, based on the consistent growth in cyber crimes in the last few years, it is estimated that by 2025, cybercrime could cost the world about $10.5 trillion annually.

To worsen the situation, these threats keep growing more sophisticated as digitalization increases. This underscores the urgent need for robust cybersecurity knowledge, enabling individuals to take adequate measures to protect themselves.

This article will explore the basics of cybersecurity, covering different types of cyber attacks.

Cybersecurity and Its Importance

Simply put, cybersecurity is all about protecting digital assets from cyber-attacks. It is safeguarding your digital devices, such as computers, phones, etc, and other assets, such as servers, networks, and data, from malicious attacks, damage, or unauthorized access. It also involves a set of techniques and measures designed to safeguard digital information and ensure data privacy, integrity, and availability.

Let’s examine some reasons why cyberSecurity is essential:

Protecting Sensitive Information and Ensures Privacy

Organizations and individuals handle vast amounts of sensitive information, including personal details, financial records, and intellectual property. Cybersecurity measures are essential to safeguard this data from unauthorized access and breaches.

Preventing Identity Theft

Identity theft occurs when someone steals your personal information, such as your name, social security number, or credit card details, and uses it without your permission to commit fraud or other crimes. A good cybersecurity measure helps protect your information from being stolen and misused.

Preventing Financial Loss

As mentioned earlier, cybercrimes such as identity theft can lead to significant financial damage. Cybersecurity safeguards you from these risks.

Protecting Reputations

Cyber incidents such as data breaches can harm an individual’s or organization’s reputation and erode trust. With solid cybersecurity measures in place, such risks can be prevented. This can help organizations maintain operational integrity, ensuring that they continue functioning without interruption from cyber attacks.

National Protection

Cybersecurity is crucial not only for the digital protection of individuals and organizations. Its applications and importance also extend to nations or countries as a whole. For example, proper cybersecurity measures help to keep a nation’s secrets safe from foreign adversaries. It also protects critical national infrastructure like power grids and water systems.

Cyber Attacks and Types

A cyber attack or threat is an attempt to break into a computer system to steal data or cause damage. It targets any part of a computer network to alter, destroy, steal information, or exploit or harm the network. Let’s explore some of the most popular types of cyber attacks.

Malware Attacks

As the name implies, this is a cyber attack carried out by installing malicious software. Since the software has to be installed, the target user must take action. The malware could be a random app or software disguised as legitimate. Once downloaded and installed, it could damage the device, take control of the system, or steal sensitive data.

Whether social media, fitness, messaging, gaming, or even online betting, it’s important to be cautious when downloading any software. If you’re an online gambling enthusiast, for instance, you should only download casino apps from trusted sources like the Play Store or App Store. You can click here to learn more about legit casino and betting apps.

In addition to downloading trusted apps, you should also use firewalls and security software to help identify and block malware.

Below are some common forms of malware attacks:

  • Viruses: These are programs that replicate themselves by attaching to other programs on your device. They can damage files, steal personal information, and disrupt normal computer operations.
  • Trojans: These are malicious programs disguised as legitimate software that trick users into downloading and executing them. They allow attackers to gain unauthorized access to devices and systems.
  • Ransomware: This is malware that encrypts your files, allowing the attacker to demand payment for their release.
  • Spyware: This is software that secretly gathers information about a user’s activities without their knowledge.

Phishing Attacks

Phishing attacks are attempts to trick people into giving away their sensitive information by pretending to be someone trustworthy, such as a bank or a company. It usually occurs through emails that seem to be coming from legitimate sources. These emails could require sensitive information like passwords and bank or credit card details or include a link that brings the receiver to a website and fools them into downloading malware.

Therefore, you should be wary of arbitrary links and email attachments. Consider factors like email headers, logos, typographical errors, etc, and do not click if anything looks suspicious.

Man-in-the-Middle (MitM) Attacks

This cyber attack intercepts and alters communication between two parties without their knowledge. It is done to steal data or inject malicious content. The two compromised parties are not usually aware that their privacy has been compromised or that their messaging is being altered.

In an MITM attack, the attacker gains access to the victim’s communication system through one of the following key ways:

  • Public Wi-Fi Risks: Attackers can set up fake Wi-Fi hotspots or hack into real ones to steal users’ data.
  • DNS Spoofing: Attackers change DNS records to redirect users from real websites to fake, harmful ones.
  • ARP Spoofing: Attackers send counterfeit messages in a network to redirect traffic to their device by pretending to be a legitimate server.
  • Session Hijacking: Attackers steal a session token to take over an active web session between a user and a service.
  • Email Hijacking: Attackers gain control of an email account to intercept and manipulate emails.

Other Major Cyber Attack Types 

Below are some of the other major types of cyber attacks:

  • Denial of Service (DoS) and Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) Attacks: DoS and DDoS attacks are carried out to disrupt the victim website’s operations or cause it to shut down completely. It’s done by overloading the network with traffic to make it unavailable to legitimate users.
  • SQL Injection: This attack involves inserting malicious SQL code into a database query to access or manipulate the database.
  • Credential Stuffing: This involves using stolen usernames and passwords from one service to gain unauthorized access to accounts on another service.
  • Zero-Day Exploits: Zero-Day exploits attack vulnerabilities in software that are unpatched and unknown to the software developer.

Conclusion

Cyber attacks continue to grow in sophistication and frequency, posing significant risks to individuals, businesses, and nations. By gaining a foundational knowledge of cybersecurity and various cyber attacks, you empower yourself to take proactive steps to protect your digital assets and personal information.