Top 5 Most Common Cyber Attacks!

The Top 5 Most Common Cyber Attacks

The Top 5 Most Common Cyber Attacks Workplace Connect

Cyber attacks are increasingly becoming more sophisticated and increasingly common. We all know how important it is for you to keep your business and yourself safe however not many people know what they need to look out for when protecting themselves and their IT therefore this blog will explain the 5 most common cyber-attacks of 2021, preparing you for 2022. We will go into detail about what they entail as well as provide you with the names of the attacks to ensure you stay informed and protected. They will be presented in no particular order.

1)       Ransomware attacks

These can also be known as malware attacks, and come under the category of cyber-attacks. Ransomware attacks involve a malicious software which can contain the following:

·         Viruses (a piece of harmful code or a program that is written to alter the way a computer behaves and has the ability to spread from one device to another)

·         Trojans Horses (a harmful code or software which is able to take full control of your device)

·         Spyware (this is a type of malicious software which gathers information on a person or business to send to an outside user to harm the victim bring spied on)

·         Ransomware (this is a type of programming which wants to harm the user by gathering all of their information, infecting and taking control of a system)

Once the malware has access to a system it will begin completing a range of tasks such as:

·         Stealing data

·         Encrypting data

·         Deleting sensitive data

·         Monitoring what the user is doing

·         Damages computer’s basic input/output system

·         Damages a system’s boot factory

When all of this damage is occurring to your device it creates a high chance of your system files being lost and the system potentially shutting down. To make matters even worse the hacker can contact you and demand an extreme payment so you have access to these files again; once the system has been fully overridden it leaves no choice but for you to pay the hacker who would expect a big pay-out; the average ransom fee went up to £200,000 in 2020, therefore, it’s expected that this has only gone up since. A way to prevent this, is to use the best defence system (anti-virus and anti-malware) you can afford for your devices and ensure you are assessing and updating them frequently. You should also ensure your devices are as up to date as they can be to limit potential weaknesses of your devices.

2)           Man In Middle Attack (MitM)

 A man-in-the-middle attack is when a cyber attacker attempts to intercept (also known as eavesdropping) themselves between the communication of two different parties or systems; this is so they can perform tasks such as:

·         Stealing or accessing personal information

·         Stealing or accessing personal credentials

·         Attempting to disrupt the communication

·         Gathering data transferred between the two parties/systems

You could consider this a malicious piece of software which can display itself as innocent and part of the website/software/program which you are using; however, it is collecting all of your and the other parties’ information instead. This can also happen when you are using public Wi-Fi because attackers can track what you are doing on the Wi-Fi and steal all kinds of data you have on the device saved or are accessing.

Despite this being a popular form of attack for cybercriminals, there are ways to manage this threat and eliminate them entirely. One way of doing this is making sure you are only accessing and sharing sensitive information on websites which have an SSL certificate (you can tell this from the HTTPS on the website URL). Another way of protecting yourself and other parties who you communicate with is ensuring your own website has an SSL certificate too. The reason these are needed is because the SSL certificate will make any communication or information on websites encrypted which protects from cyber attackers; no one can access the information on the website apart from the website owner due to encryption. A final way to protect yourself from man-in-the-middle attacks is by using a VPN (this is especially important when using public Wi-Fi) because this makes sure everything you do online remains anonymous and private meaning attackers can’t eavesdrop on what you are doing and access the information.

It is recommended to have anti-virus and anti-malware installed on all your devices because this will help nearly all types of cyber-attacks!

3)           Denial of Service Attack

A denial-of-service attack is when a cyber attacker attempts to crash a device or network so the users of the device/network can no longer have access or use the website; the cyber attacker will do this by sending too many requests to a particular system, device, or network in an attempt to flood it. The attacker could use multiple corrupted computer systems to force an assault which will drastically overload the web traffic coming to the device, server, or networks all at the same time; this is known as a flood attack. Research conducted by Cisco has shown that an estimated 15.4 million attacks will take place in 2022 therefore it is wise to make a strategy on how you will prevent and handle this. You can tell if a cyber attacker is doing this to you by:

·         Slow network performance

·         Long loading times to access files and websites

·         You are only unable to load a particular website rather than all of them

·         A sudden loss of connectivity on all devices which use the same network

The ways to prevent this from happening include subscribing to a denial-of-service protection service which will track the amount of traffic coming to your website typically and can detect when you have an abnormally high amount of traffic incoming to the website; it will then re-direct the traffic away, so your network, site or device stays protected. Another way you can prevent this from happening is to install a firewall which will restrict how much traffic is coming to your devices to avoid it from overloading. As said before, it is a smart idea to install and ensure you maintain your antivirus software because this will detect if abnormal activity is happening on your device. Finally, you should also regularly check how the website or application is doing regarding its security, functioning and how updated it is because experiencing any technical difficulties will leave you vulnerable and could attract an attack.

4)       Phishing Attacks

Phishing attacks are a well-known and common form of cyber-attack. There are many ways cyber attackers can use this style of assault including through emails, text messages and websites. Unfortunately, if an attacker copies your company in an attempt to get the information your domain could be blacklisted and your emails may no longer reach your intended customers. You should be wary of:

·        Urgency in messages

·        Unrecognised email domains

·        Asking for personal details

·        Bad grammar, punctuation, and spelling

One-way attackers do this is through sending harmful emails to companies or people in high positions within their work which seem as if they’re coming from well-known and trusted organisations. The emails will contain a link which sends you to what seems like a trusted site however they have copied it and will ask you to fill in a form with personal information. If you fill in these forms the cybercriminals will have access to your personal data with the intention to do harm or commit fraud with these details. Research conducted by Tessian found that the average employees receive around 14 malicious emails per year.

Another form of phishing attack is through text messages, the attacker will send a text message (usually saying they are a delivery company) and ask you to click on a link to handle the matter. The text message will then send you to a fake website (that looks like a real trusted organisation) which again will ask for you to fill in a form so they can collect your personal details. Just like the type of attack previously, they will take the sensitive information with the intention to do harm and commit fraud.

A final common method phishing method is when the cyber attacker creates a fake website which appears to be the real trusted website; the link to the site will be sent out through different communication platforms with a message pretending to be the real company in an attempt for the victim to fall for it. Just like the other two types, the attacker will ask for personal details so they can use this for their own gain. Many websites have systems which protect users and their own organisation from phishing attacks however it is smart to stay wary of this style of cyber-attack.

5)       Brute Force Password Attack

The final type of cyber attack we will share with you is known as a brute force password attack; this is when a cybercriminal will repeatedly guess your password in an attempt to access your accounts, sensitive information (about you or your organisation) and your database. This style of attack can also be known as a dictionary attack because hackers will find a document which contains millions of combinations of passwords that are commonly used, in order to break into your personal accounts or devices. Due to the number of possible passwords cyber attackers have made it possible to use an automation software which will go through a series of possible passwords in order to find the right one to be given access to. Hackers could want to do this in order to get money or commit fraud; if they go this do this to a business their aim could be to steal credentials/data, add viruses to the site/business and trick employees or customers into giving them personal or sensitive information. Therefore, most networks, devices and databases ask you to set a long password to prevent this from happening.

Luckily, there are ways to prevent a brute force password attack from happening to you. One way is to ensure you set a strong password for all of your devices, networks, and accounts; it has been recommended by the National Cyber Security Centre to create a password which has three random words that are all unrelated to each other. They have also suggested including a range of characters within your passwords such as capital and lowercase letters, special characters, and numbers. Completing all of these should lower the risk of you being hacked. Words or phrases to avoid in a password include:

·         Your name

·         Your families names

·         Your date of birth

·         Your pets name

·         Where you were born.

You can also set up multi-factor authentication which means once you have typed in your password, you will receive a call or text message which will be sent to your phone or chosen device which you are required to enter in order to get access to your own accounts.   If you want professional protection from cyber attacks, click the link to find details of how we can help you: Workplace Connect | Security | A safe and secure working environment


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