Cyber attacks happen every day, and everyone’s a target – individual users, businesses, organizations. As long as you’re connected to the internet, there’s always the risk of being a victim of cyber attack.
Cyber attack is a deliberate and malicious attempt of an unauthorized party to access and gain information of the victim through exploiting or altering an information system’s loopholes.
Types of Software Attacks
To the general public, the term ‘hacking’ broadly refers to all forms of cyber attacks. Usually, the perpetrators or ‘hackers’ have an ulterior motive in accessing the victim’s information. Hacking is a lucrative industry that costs billions every year.
Although we’ve seen major strides in the field of cybersecurity, cybercriminals have also gotten bolder and more sophisticated, developing different ways to circumvent security infrastructure.
Furthermore, as more activities are now being done in the cyberspace, hackers have wider opportunities to gain unauthorized access to vital information like email account details, personal information, banking and credit card details, social security details, and other unclassified data. An IT specialist from Firewall Technical emphasizes that without implementing solid cybersecurity measures, you’re at increased risk of falling victim to cyber attacks.
However, to be able to set up a solid defense, it is important to understand the offense.
Below is a list of common types of software attacks commonly used to get your personal data.
Malware refers to different forms of harmful or malicious software programs, such as ransomware, viruses, Trojans, worms, etc. According to the FBI, ransomware is the leading malware threat that targets users of all types.
A malware needs to get installed into the victim’s system. Once installed, it can wreak all sorts of havoc such as getting your data, controlling your computer, diverting traffic, sending the victim’s data to the hacker, and even spreading the malware to other computers connected to the network.
There are many ways to get a malware into your computer, but usually, it requires the user to take action to install the harmful software. They can send it as an email attachment or hidden alert pop up or ads. Hackers love to use malware because they can be very effective and easy to implement, especially to the unaware and unprotected victims.
Social engineering is a cyber attack wherein the victim is deceived and manipulated by the hacker to gain access to the system.
Basically, this is achieved by getting the victim to click malicious links. Some techniques employed by hackers are:
Phishing – The hacker sends emails that appear to be from a trusted source, such as the victim’s bank, credit card provider, or other subscriptions. The email either manipulates the victim to provide vital information such as credit card or bank information and passwords, or instructs the victim to perform a task, such as clicking a link, visiting a fake website, or installing a software (with hidden malware in it.)
Spear phishing – This is a more targeted form of phishing wherein the hacker takes time to study the victim. The hacker then sends more relevant (and even personal) messages. Often, spear phishing attacks are difficult to detect and defend against, especially if they’re aided with other technical trickery, such as email spoofing or website cloning.
Pharming – This cyber attack involves redirecting the victim to an illegitimate website, where victim’s information is then compromised.
Bait and switch
The hacker buys advertising spaces on a website and lures users to click on the ad. Hackers make their ads and download links very attractive to users. Clicking on the ad redirects the victim to a malware-infested page.
Once on the site, the user is instructed to install a seemingly authentic program. This is where adware or malware gets into the computer. Once completely installed, hackers can completely access your computer, system, and network.
When you browse the internet, your personal data, such as email IDs, passwords, username, and browsing history, are temporarily stored in cookies. This makes cookies a top target for hackers. Using your cookies, they can browse using your digital identity and even get your vital information.
Usually, cookie theft is done by using a machine where the victim’s IP packets pass through. To avoid cookie theft, it is important that you input your personal details and password only on secured or encrypted websites.
Another hacking technique to watch out, Keylogger is a simple software program that is capable of recording the keystrokes or sequences of your keyboard. It can be used to get your email information and passwords. Keyloggers can either be software or hardware.
This threat is the reason why most online banking sites use virtual keyboards for logging in.
The fake wireless access point is another simple hacking technique. Here hackers use a software program to create a fake WAP of an official public place WAP. For example, they can set up a fake WAP in a public library and name it as the legit WAP. Once the user connects to the fake WAP, they can easily access the victim’s data. Use of quality VPN service can protect you from these cyber attacks.
In this hacking technique, the target’s networks, systems, or servers are flooded with traffic to exhaust its bandwidth and capacity. Once the system is down, it becomes unable to perform legitimate functions and requests. During this period, they can gain a foothold of their target’s data. Another common form of attack is called Distributed-Denial-of-Service (DDoS) wherein hackers use several compromised devices.
These are just some of the most common cyber attacks you can encounter. As you can see, hackers have numerous tricks up their sleeves. And without proper cyber security in place, you can be an easy target of any one of these threats. Spend time to assess your level of cybersecurity. Implement cybersecurity practices and strategies to ensure that your critical infrastructure and systems, as well as sensitive data, are fully protected.