A cyberattack is a malicious and deliberate attempt by an individual or organization to breach the information system of another individual or organization. Usually, the attacker seeks some type of benefit from disrupting the victim’s network.
How Cyber Attacks Work
Types of Cyber Attacks
How often do cyberattacks occur?
Cyber attacks hit businesses every day. Former Cisco CEO John Chambers once said, “There are two types of companies: those that have been hacked, and those who don’t yet know they have been hacked.” According to the Cisco Annual Cybersecurity Report, the total volume of events has increased almost fourfold between January 2019 and October 2020.
Why do people launch cyber attacks?
Cybercrime has increased every year as people try to benefit from vulnerable business systems. Often, attackers are looking for ransom: 53% of cyber-attacks resulted in damages of $500,000 or more.
Cyberthreats can also be launched with ulterior motives. For example, some attackers look to obliterate systems and data as a form of “hacktivism.”
What is a botnet?
A botnet is a network of devices that have been infected with malicious software, such as a virus. Attackers can control a botnet as a group without the owner’s knowledge to increase the magnitude of their attacks. Often, a botnet is used to overwhelm systems in a distributed-denial-of-service attack (DDoS) attack.
Common types of cyber attacks
Malware is a term used to describe malicious software, including spyware, ransomware, viruses, and worms. Malware breaches a network through a vulnerability, typically when a user clicks a dangerous link or email attachment that installs risky software. Once inside the system, malware can do the following:
- Blocks access to key components of the network (ransomware)
- Installs malware or additional harmful software
- Covertly obtains information by transmitting data from the hard drive (spyware)
- Disrupts specific components and renders the system inoperable
Phishing is the practice of sending fraudulent communications that appear to come from a reputable source, usually through email. The goal is to steal sensitive data like credit card and login information or install malware on the victim’s machine. Phishing is an increasingly common cyberthreat.