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The Advanced Guide to Understanding Cyber Attacks and Defense

The Advanced Guide to Understanding Cyber Attacks and Defense

Cyber-attacks are becoming a big problem for organizations. We often hear about cyberattacks happening in different corners of the world. Understanding cyber-attacks and procedures to tackle them is necessary to stay ahead of the competition.

As well as cybercrime, cyberattacks are also associated with cyberwarfare and cyberterrorism, like hacktivists. In other words, motivations can vary. There are three main categories of motivations: criminal, political, and personal.

Money theft, data theft, and business disruption are all criminally motivated attacks. The personally motivated, such as disgruntled current or former employees, will take money, data, or the chance to disrupt a company’s system. Their primary goal, however, is retribution. Politically motivated attackers seek attention for their causes. They make their attacks known to the public, which is known as hacktivism. The other motivations for cyberattacks include espionage, spying, and intellectual challenge.

What is Cyber Attack

An attempt to get unauthorized access to a computer, computing system or computing network to cause damage is called a cyber-attack. Those who launch a cyber-attack are called cyber-criminals. Moreover, other names are bad actors, hackers, and threat actors. Particular government-sponsored groups of computer experts launch cyber-attacks. Such attackers are called nation-state attackers.

Reasons behind Cyber Attack

Cyber attacks usually cause damage and can have several objectives, such as:

FINANCIAL GAIN

By understanding your organization’s strengths and weaknesses, you can improve your ability to defend against ransomware attacks and respond quickly and effectively to any attack that breaches your defenses.

DISRUPTION AND REVENGE

Bad actors also launch attacks to sow chaos, confusion, discontent, frustration, or mistrust. For example, they might be taking such action to exact revenge on those who have harmed them. In addition, the attackers may wish to embarrass or damage the reputations of the attacked entities.

Government entities often target these attacks, but commercial entities and nonprofit organizations can also be affected.

CYBERWARFARE

Governments worldwide also engage in cyber-attacks as part of ongoing political, economic, and social disputes, with many admitting or suspecting they have designed and executed attacks against other countries. Cyberwarfare is the term used to describe these types of attacks.

How do Cyber Attacks Work?

Depending on whether an entity is targeted or untargeted, threat actors use a variety of tactics to launch cyber-attacks. Bad actors typically look for vulnerabilities in software code to gain access to as many devices as possible in untargeted attacks so that they won’t be detected or blocked. Alternatively, they could use a phishing attack to trick people into clicking malicious links in emails designed to look credible.

Attacks targeting specific organizations differ in their methods depending on the goals of the attack. DDoS attacks targeted the Finnish parliament’s website during a session in August 2022. The attack may be part of a coordinated campaign by Russian state-sponsored hackers to disrupt the Finnish government’s websites for applying to join NATO. DDoS attacks temporarily block access to a website, but they do not permanently damage it.

Common Types of Cyber Attacks

There are wide varieties of cyber-attacks that happen in the world today. Knowing the various types of cyberattacks makes it easier for us to protect our networks and systems against them. As we examine here, we will discuss the top cyber-attacks that can impact an enterprise.

Here are the different types of cyberattacks we have listed:

  • MALWARE

The term malware refers to malicious software that attacks information systems. Trojan horses, ransomware, and spyware are examples of malware. Depending on the type of malware, hackers could use malware to steal sensitive data or secretly copy it, block access to files, interfere with system operations, or cripple systems.

  • PHISHING

A phishing attack occurs when hackers manipulate email messages to entice recipients to open them. Then, the statements trick recipients into downloading malware through an attached file or embedded link. According to Proofpoint’s “2022 State of the Phish” report, 83% of respondents said their organization experienced at least one successful phishing attack in 2021, up 46% from 2020. In addition, 78% of organizations experienced email-based ransomware attacks in 2021.

  • SMISHING (SMS PHISHING OR SMISHING)

The Smishing attack methodology is a text-based version of phishing (technically known as SMS). Hackers send socially engineered texts that, when clicked, download malware. According to a Proofpoint report, Smishing attacks have increased from 61% in 2020 to 74% in 2021.

  • DDoS

DDoS attacks occur when hackers bombard an organization’s servers with large numbers of simultaneous data requests, thereby preventing the servers from responding to legitimate requests.

  • CREDENTIAL-BASED ATTACK

The credential-based attack occurs when hackers steal the credentials that IT workers use to access and manage systems, then use them to illegally access computers to steal sensitive data or otherwise disrupt an organization.

  • ZERO DAY EXPLOIT

In zero-day exploits, hackers exploit a newly identified vulnerability in IT infrastructure for the first time. For example, a series of critical vulnerabilities in Apache Log4j Project, a widely used piece of open-source software, was reported in December 2021, causing security teams worldwide to scramble for solutions.

  • BRUTE FORCE ATTACK

An attack involving multiple attempts to crack login credentials, such as usernames, passwords, and encryption keys, hoping that one will succeed.

Defense Against a Cyber Attack

Cyber-attacks cannot be completely prevented, but organizations can reduce the risk by following several cybersecurity best practices. In addition, combining skilled security professionals, processes, and technology helps reduce the risk of a cyber-attack.

There are various defense mechanisms:

AUTHENTICATION AND ENCRYPTION

For any communication channel to be secure, authentication and encryption are both essential. An authentication mechanism involves verifying an entity’s identity. Encryption mechanisms enable secure communication over a channel and help prevent unauthorized access. As cyber-attacks are on the rise in the digital age, CAVs must use these components to mitigate the vulnerabilities of unsecured communication channels. The requirements and limitations of CAVs prevent them from implementing existing authentication and encryption mechanisms found in other industries.

MALWARE AND INTRUSION DETECTION

It is true that authentication and encryption systems deter attacks, but they cannot be the only defense mechanism to guarantee the security of any system. Protecting vehicular networks from attacks requires the detection of attacks as well. Detection of attacks can be divided into two sub-groups: intrusion detection which focuses on networks, and malware detection which focuses on executables and files.

SOFTWARE VULNERABILITY ANALYSIS

Software vulnerability analysis is a unique defense technique in that it identifies vulnerabilities in the code before it is used. A Secure Software Development Life Cycle ensures fewer threats need to be mitigated with other defense approaches by integrating security early in the development process. CAV research is also unique in that it shares many similarities with research on software vulnerabilities used in other industries.  

Conclusion

Cyber-attacks are a big problem for online businesses worldwide. These attacks lock your device and steal all crucial data for their mean purpose. Malware, Phishing, Smishing, and brute force attack are some of the major types of cyber-attacks. Moreover, threat actors use the latest technologies to launch these attacks. Hence, organizations must be conscious and updated on the latest defensive techniques.  To ensure that your organization is protected from potent cyberattacks, you can utilize a cyber security risk assessment service.

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