Seven of the Most Popular Cyber Attacks


In the digital age, cyber attacks are as common as the common cold. They affect individuals, organisations and businesses almost every day. Former Cisco CEO John Chambers even once said companies are only either hacked or don’t know they’ve been hacked.

Network security provider Matrium Technologies recommends having an actionable security strategy to protect one’s company from the growing cyber threat landscape. This includes assessing one’s current security posture and cyber risk exposure.

Educating one’s staff on cyber attacks also minimises an organisation’s risk to incursions. Below are a few of the most common cyber attacks in the world you can orient your staff about:

Zero-Day Exploit

A zero-day exploit attack hits a system on the same day a weakness is discovered and before a security patch or solution is installed. Attackers target during this window of time due to the increased vulnerability of a network.

Denial-of-Service (DoS) and Distributed Denial-of-Service (DDoS) Attacks

DoS attacks are made to overwhelm a system’s resources so that it can’t respond to service requests. DDoS attacks are similar but are launched from other infected host machines controlled by hackers.

Malware Attack

Described as unwanted software installed in your system, malicious software or malware attaches itself to legitimate codes and propagates. It can lurk in your most used applications or duplicate itself across the World Wide Web. Some of the most common types of malware include polymorphic viruses, file infectors, Trojans and worms.

Birthday Attack

A birthday attack is a kind of cryptographic attack designed to exploit birthday algorithms used to verify the integrity of a message, software or digital signature. This attack can be utilised to manipulate or destroy communication between two or more parties, depending on the probability of collisions found between a fixed degree of permutations and random attack attempts.

Eavesdropping Attack

Also known as man-in-the-middle attacks, eavesdropping attacks happen when hackers insert themselves into a two-party transaction. There are two kinds of eavesdropping attacks: passive and active. Passive eavesdropping occurs when a hacker detects confidential data or information by listening to the message transmission in a network. Active eavesdropping – also called probing, scanning or tampering – is when a hacker actively grabs the information by disguising themselves as a friendly unit or by sending queries to transmitters.

Password Attack

Since passwords are the most commonly used mechanism for providing access for users to information, they are also highly vulnerable to attacks. Hackers obtain passwords either by brute-force or by a dictionary attack. Brute-force password guessing means inputting different passwords in hopes of one working. A dictionary attack involves trying out the most commonly used passwords to hack into a system.

Phishing and Spear Phishing Attack

A phishing attack is done by sending emails that appear to be from trusted sources with the goal of attaining personal information from a user. Spear phishing, on the other hand, is a more targeted approach. Attackers take time to do their research on a user or a system so that they can create messages that are relevant, personal and engaging.

If you don’t protect your network, there will always be a risk of cyber attacks and information breach. It’s important to keep operating systems up to date as well as entrusting your network to security software that ensures your data is safe from harm.