Cyber-attacks are growing in numbers and affecting multiple businesses. Hackers aim to target vulnerabilities and the lack of security teams. They continuously monitor for opportunities to allow them to enter and steal valuable information.
Businesses that do not prioritize cybersecurity can fall one their victims. It is crucial to know that when you experience a cyber-attack you don’t only lose valuable data. Instead, you need to spend thousands of dollars and your reputation is tainted.
Therefore, no matter what size of business you have, cybersecurity practices should be a top priority. There are some affordable ways to keep you secure from common threats.
By knowing these online attacks, you’ll be able to know what and how you can protect your system. It will be easy to decide what tools you are to use.
What are the Common Cyber Attacks?
Denial-of-service attack or DDoS happens when the site or system gets overloaded with traffic. Hence, it prevents the site from responding to service requests.
The flood of traffic can be an incoming message, connection requests, malformed packets, and more that can slow down and crash the system. The attacks usually come from multiple locations and sources which makes them difficult to identify.
Sometimes attackers use AI to understand what attacks can work best for their victims. It makes it difficult for security teams as AI which is used to protect from attack is being weaponized.
Here are several types of DDoS cyber attacks:
- SYN Flood: an attack that affects the server by making it unavailable for visitors. It consumes all the resources, affecting the legitimate traffic and preventing them from entering the site.
- HTTP Flood: targets the HTTP requests
- Ping of Death: The attacker crashes or freezes the victim’s server by sending malformed packets using ping commands.
- UDP Flood: It overwhelms the port with IP packets containing the UDP datagram. Therefore, the system becomes unresponsive.
- ICMP (Ping) Flood: The victim’s computer experiences excess pings. Hence, leads to inaccessible traffic.
Malware is malicious software that encompasses ransomware, spyware, worms, viruses, etc. They are the most common cause of cyber attacks on networks when a vulnerability is present.
Once the malware has access to a system, it will add a harmful software program and block access to other network components.
Among the different malware programs, ransomware is the most popular. When a victim gets infected by ransomware, they are not able to access their files. The only option is to pay for the ransom requested by the hacker.
Spyware is malware that installs into a device without the permission of the person. It secretly monitors online activities and steals information from the user. Meanwhile, viruses are computer codes that can spread from one device to another.
Worms, on the hand, are self-contained programs that can affect networks and computers. They spread through email attachments.
Phishing is the act of sending emails that appear to be from reputable sources to get personal information or persuade users to take action. It is a hybrid of social engineering and technology deception.
It could be an email attachment that downloads malware to your machine. Or, it could be a link to a malicious website designed to deceive you into installing malware or revealing sensitive information.
It is common due to its simplicity and surprisingly effectiveness. In addition, not everyone knows what a phishing email looks like, or hackers are becoming more convincing than they were before.
What happens when you become a victim of phishing attacks?
- Money taken from your bank
- Unknown charges from your credit card
- Hackers gain access to your device or social media accounts
- Hackers impersonating you to gain access to people you know
It is another social engineering attack that is more of targeted phishing activity. The hacker will take time to research their target victim.
It’s difficult to spot and even more difficult to defend against. Email spoofing is when the information in the “From” area of an email appears as if it is coming from someone you know. It is one of the simplest ways for a hacker to launch a spear-phishing assault.
Another technique is when scammers use website cloning to add credibility to their claim by copying real websites and tricking you into inputting your login credentials.
If you want to prevent phishing or spear-phishing attacks, here’s what you can do.
- Analyze email: You must learn about what a legitimate email looks like rather than accepting every email to be from a legitimate source.
- Hover over the links: You can move your mouse cursor over the link on the email, but do not click the link. Then look at the lower part of your screen to check the link. Use critical thinking to see if the link is spoofed or not.
- Sandboxing: Instead of downloading a link directly to your device, you can run them on a sandbox environment. If there’s any malicious content, it will not get out of this virtual environment and affect your device.
Passwords are the most crucial part to access accounts, and so hackers are eager to get their hands on them. There are multiple ways hackers can obtain a person’s password: Looking around a person’s desk, “sniffing” the network connection to retrieve passwords, employing social engineering, acquiring access to a password database, or simply guessing a person’s password.
The most common technique that hackers use is brute force attacks. It means they guess by trying different passwords until they discover it. Most weak passwords are easily deciphered.
They also use the dictionary attack. To acquire access to a user’s computer and network, a dictionary of common passwords is employed. One method is to copy an encrypted file containing the passwords, encrypt a dictionary of regularly used passwords using the same encryption, and compare the results.
The best way to prevent becoming a victim is to use strong passwords for your accounts. In addition, use a password limit to prevent multiple attempts when logging into your account.
When an attacker intercepts communication between two parties, this is known as a man-in-the-middle attack. The attacker’s purpose is to observe and steal personal information from the victims.
For example, while the victim is using an insecure public Wi-Fi network, an attacker can put themselves between the visitor’s device and the network. An attacker can install software to intercept the victim’s information.
Because most email and chat systems use end-to-end encryption, MitM attacks are becoming less common. This makes it more difficult for attackers to intercept data carried across a network, whether encrypted or not.
However, if you want to avoid this attack, you can keep yourself safe by doing the following:
- Use HTTPS websites: Visit websites that have an HTTPS certification to guarantee secure communication.
- Use secured networks: Connecting to a secure network is the best way to avoid man-in-the-middle attacks, but sometimes you’ll need to connect using free Wi-Fi. So, the best way is to use a VPN to encrypt your connection.
SQL Injection Attack
With database-driven websites, SQL injection has become a widespread problem. It happens when a bad guy uses the input data from the client to send a SQL query to the database.
The SQL command is inserted into a data plane for it to run. When it successfully works, it can read sensitive information, modify data, execute admin operations, etc.
SQL injections are most effective when a website employs dynamic SQL. Due to the ubiquity of older functional interfaces, SQL injection is particularly popular in PHP and ASP applications.
Apply the least 0 privilege model of permissions to safeguard yourself against SQL injection attacks. Stay with prepared statements and stored procedures. Injection attacks must be protected against the programming used to access the database. Additionally, do check application-level input data against a white list.
Cross-site Scripting (XSS)
Cross-site scripting is similar to SQL injection attacks. However, they are often used to infect users that visit the site rather than the application itself. Depending on the intensity of the attack, Trojan horse programs may be activated and user accounts may be compromised. The attacker could be able to impersonate legitimate users and utilize their private accounts if session cookies are exposed.
To prevent your website from an XSS attack, the best way is to scan applications regularly. You can also use a web application firewall to make the attack difficult.
The attacker will scan for vulnerable software that is unknown to the software vendor. Once there is the presence of a vulnerability, they take advantage of this opportunity to exploit it.
Government agencies, major corporations, and anyone with access to important business data are frequent targets for a zero-day exploit.
The best way to protect your business from zero-day exploits is to use firewall protection. It ensures maximum security by allowing legitimate transactions only.
It’s a method of spreading malware. Hackers search for unsecured websites and inject malicious scripts into the HTTP and PHP code. Then, visitors to the website are sent to a site run by hackers or have malware installed directly onto their computers by this script.
You don’t need to click a download link or open a malicious email attachment to become infected, unlike many other types of cyber security attacks. Drive-by attacks also don’t rely on the user to allow them actively. An app, operating system, or web browser that has security holes due to a lack of updates might be a victim of drive-by attacks.
Keep your operating system and browsers up to date, stay away from websites that can contain malicious code, and use other precautions to safeguard yourself from drive-by assaults. In addition, you must avoid installing too many pointless apps and programs on your device. Drive-by cyber attacks can take advantage of additional vulnerabilities the more plug-ins you have installed.
Learning how to protect your devices, email, software, or website is essential to stay away from these cyber attacks. The more proactive we become in our approach, the better we can safeguard ourselves. Do not allow hackers to exploit the vulnerabilities available. Be the first to discover and patch them for overall protection.
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