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What is a Cyber Attack? Attack Techniques Explained
A cyber attack is an unauthorized attempt by cybercriminals/hackers to gain access to a third party’s computing system or a network with malicious intent to steal or alter or destroy confidential information or harm any network.
Cybercriminals gave a wave of cyber attacks last year that were more complex and more advanced than ever. The main cause of such attacks stems from misconfigurations, system vulnerabilities, and lack of security assistance.
An alarming trend noticed crypto mining, phishing, trojan, and ransomware as the top attacks that were highly complex and multi-staged in operations.
Cyber attacks have the potential to range from impacting minor business interference to the entire nation and an organization’s reputation, breaching national security policies, sensitive information loss, and financial losses affecting every digital platform like a website, you can hire an expert team to create a secure website and every digitized sector.
An organization is always under a continuous threat of cyber attacks as these attacks are increasing rapidly in number and sophistication.
2022 mid-year statistic reports a 42% increase in weekly cyberattacks globally.
Common Cyber Attack Techniques and Targets
Cyber attack territories are constantly evolving and hackers are becoming more skilled and innovative in their ways. Modern cyber attacks are more complex, and multi-vectored using polymorphic codes making threat detection and prevention more difficult than ever.
There are dozens of ways in which cyber attacks affect operations. Here is a list of the most common ways that an attacker uses to penetrate a system.
- Malware: Malware is an application that performs malicious tasks on a computer. This attack requires software to be installed on the computer, which a user can accidentally do by clicking any link or opening a malware-hidden file. Different types of malware are adware, ransomware, viruses, worms, trojan horses, and spyware.
- Phishing: It involves gathering sensitive information like bank/credit card details, passwords, social media details, contact information, and many more. The common way of phishing involves sending emails/messages that look legitimate, once the user clicks the link, he is redirected to a legitimate-looking website (which is fake) where one tries to login, and his credentials are stolen.
- Man-in-the-middle (MITM): An attacker intercepts communication between two parties and can alter information being shared between them without their knowledge by placing himself as the middleman.
- SQL injection attack: A structured query language (SQL) injection occurs by injecting a malicious code on a server using SQL and forcing the server to release sensitive data and the attacker can perform any administrator operations, as these data is very sensitive, it is advisable to take help from the expert developer, you can hire remote developer who will perform all the security task giving you high end protection from cyber attacks in a cost effective way.
- Denial of service: A Do’s attack floods the server with traffic thus blocking legitimate requests to be answered. Sometimes a Do’s attack is performed using multiple compromised computers which is then known as distributed denial of service (DDoS).
- Cryptomining/Cryptojacking: It is a cyber-attack where the hacker co-opts the target’s resource to mine cryptocurrency like bitcoins. Various methods are adopted to get malicious code onto the target’s computer like embedding a code in a website or phishing via email. This code runs in the background and is difficult to detect.
- DNS tunneling/spoofing: These attacks are simple to perform but provide persistent access to the target. Hacker inserts malware/tunnel into DNS traffic/query which is passed easily undetected as traffic by any organization’s firewall.
- Eavesdropping attacks: This attack is similar to a man-in-middle attack, but here the attacker intercepts between two communicating parties and then controls the entire communication.
- Cross-site scripting (XSS): In this type of attack, a user visits a compromised website where the malicious script is loaded and executed into the victim’s browser via clickable content.
- Credential Reuse: An attacker collects credentials like usernames and passwords and then uses them for other websites where a user uses the same credentials as on another website, the attacker gets access/logs in.
- Insider threats: These threats could be intentional or unintentional as they are imposed by an organization’s employee(s). Some employees have in-depth knowledge about the organization’s security level and ways to handle threats, this knowledge helps to surpass restricted areas and gather sensitive information.
- AI-powered attacks: Artificial Intelligent attacks involve AI-powered software capable of learning which approach would work best for them and attacking accordingly. AI-powered attacks are fast, efficient, and adaptable and can quickly detect system vulnerabilities. However, these attacks are still evolving.
- IoT-based attacks: An IoT attack compromises an IoT-based device and can contaminate device(s) with malware. IoT devices are generally less secure than other gadgets. IoT attacks are yet to become sophisticated in attacks.
- Fileless attacks: These attacks are low-observable characteristics (LOC) attacks as they can escape most security solutions by not using any file. The malware is executed as a set of commands that are built into the target’s system.
- Brute Force attack: In this attack, a hacker simply tries to guess the credentials of the target to gain unauthorized access.
- Typo squatting: This is also called URL hijacking which relies on typing errors made by users while typing in their browser rather than a search engine. An attacker has a similar/misspelled domain name registered which brings the client to their malicious website.
Common Attack Targets
Cyber attacks are gaining momentum due to increasing connectivity between computing systems and resources.
With the evolution of the digital era, every institution, whether a government agency, finance, insurance, medical/healthcare, business, or telecommunication organization, is prey to cyber-attacks.
These attacks are very common on eCommerce websites like Shopify there are various guides available that can help you protect your Shopify website from these types of attacks
The attacks become more sophisticated with their attack vector with time and become hard to detect.
These targets could be physical or logical, having vulnerability(ies) targeting confidentiality, integrity, availability, authentication, and nonrepudiation.
Cybercrime rose by 600% post-COVID pandemic and the global annual cost is estimated to be around $6 trillion per year.
These attacks can range from accessing sensitive information to financial transitions to having full control over the system.
Recently in the Russia-Ukraine war, cyber attacks against Ukraine have been persistent by Russia over the years.
So Ukraine unleashed its own cyber attacks and formed a volunteer ‘IT Army’ using a website that listed Russian targets with hostnames and IP addresses via Distributed Denial-of-service (DDoS) malware.
Cyberattacks are becoming more complex with every attack, and organizations need to protect themselves by deploying various security practices like using strong passwords, encrypting data, using security software, and similar things.
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