The 15 most common types of Cyber Attacks

Any form of malicious or destructive attempt dedicated to steal, harm, or even destroy computer networks or information system is referred to as a Cyber Attack. With the rise of Information Technology and digitization of the modern world, the threats to personal data, identity, and information systems have increased significantly.

The 15 most common types of Cyber Attacks

As internet and web presence is a necessity for most of us now in cybersecurity for business, getting exposed to prevalent cyber-attacks is common. Therefore, getting know-how of some of the most frequently occurring web attacks is essential as it can protect you in critical situations.

In this article, we have covered major cyber-attacks affecting internetworking around the globe. Read on as we break down 15 major threats to your computing devices below.

1. DOS/DDOS Attack

An attack that consumes complete system resources and network bandwidth in a way that the site or host becomes unresponsive to service requests is referred to as a Denial of Service (DOS) attack. Similar to DOS, the Distributed DOS attack eats up system resources from multiple host locations controlled by the attacker. MSP Blueshift has summarized these forms of cyber-attacks in a brief way. As the site or host is following up to loads of attacker’s requests that occupied all the system resources, it becomes unresponsive to service requests from end-users.

2. Malware Attack

Malware attack encapsulates a combination of viruses, file infectors, worms, logic bombs, adware, etc. to destroy or get access to a host system. Some of these attacks are common and occur due to illegal downloads, pirated software use, data transfer from corrupted flash drives, and more. To prevent from such attacks, there are many Spyware removal services guaranteeing an optimized solution.

3. Trojan Horse

Trojan horses are malicious programs that conceal themselves to legitimate software to steal insightful information or to perform any other operation for which they are designed. Typically, this web attack happens when unauthorized software is downloaded from unauthentic sites. Acting as a backdoor for unauthorized users and harmful software, Trojan can steal your valuable data, passwords, and permission without your knowledge. There are many kinds of Trojans such as Remote system access Trojan, Proxy Trojan, FTP Trojan, etc.

4. Rootkits

Rootkits are software programs designed to get root/admin access to the end-user’s machine. Once gained the root access, the exploiter can do anything from stealing private files to confidential data.

5. Cross-site Scripting (XXS) Attack

The running of malicious JavaScript code in the end-user’s web browser, re-scriptable software, or any other web resource is called cross-site scripting (XXS) attack. As the website’s frontend HTML can be accessed from the browser, the attacker inserts his/her harmful programming code snippet into it in the form of an HTML tag. Depending upon the JavaScript code, the attacker can steal the cookie files, keyboard stroke, or network information. Moreover, the browser can also be accessed remotely to control the end-user’s machine.

6. Phishing/Spoofing

Many times, we have come across web pages and emails that appear authentic but are not secure. This social engineering technique for a hacker can be regarded as phishing or spoofing in which fraudulent communication activity is generated in an attempt to grab sensitive information from end-users.

7. DNS Tunnelling

DNS tunnelling is a way to create a separate network channel with the server to spread malware. As a firewall is not able to detect DNS tunnelling, attackers create a separate sophisticated channel to access servers. Once the attackers get in, they can spread malicious activity to anyone on the network, hence the entire communication network gets compromised.

8. Zero-Day Exploit Attack

Almost all the software, programs, and networks are updated and enhanced from time to time. The period during which their development is carried out is regarded as Zero-day. During this small window of time, the entire network is exposed to vulnerabilities. Hence, the hackers tend to attack it during this period. Zero-day attacks are emerging online on a regular basis as explained by ABC in their blog; however, its prevention techniques are still not effectively in place.

9. Drive-by Attack

Commonly taking place in outdated website and apps, Drive-by attacks insert malware in insecure and exposed websites. This type of attack mostly occurs on HTTP or PHP sites that have not been updated and scanned frequently. Random ad pop-ups and spam emails are also a source of drive-by attacks.

10. URL Interpretation

Fabrication of website or web app URL addresses to gain access to specific web pages is called URL interpretation. Also known as URL poisoning, this attack tends to capture specific information from the site. For such attacks, the understanding of code file directory is required. The attacker interprets and guesses the page names to eventually get access to the already developed page.

11. SQL Injection Attack

All the widespread information on the web is stored in databases that operate on Structured Query Language (SQL). It is used to add, delete, or update the data present in the database depending upon requirements. To manipulate, delete, or fetch the hidden data, attackers use SQL injections which is a technique to interact with the database using SQL from websites’ input options such as a search bar, comment feed, etc. Sensitive information on websites such as passwords, personal details, etc. can be extracted by effective SQL Injection attacks.

12. Brute Force Attack

As the name suggests, a brute force attack is a way to try all means to access specific information on the website or portal. Generally, it is used to guess passwords by robotically trying a sequence of auto-generated passwords. As out of thousands of combination, there is a possibility of one authenticating, sensitive information can be accessed.

13. Spyware

Spyware is a cyber-attack through which end-user’s activity over the internet can be monitored. Using Spyware, attackers collect hidden information of specified hosts to reveal it to the third party. Generally transmitted to a computer using Trojan, it silently records information such as keys logged, timestamps, web history, and more.

14. Ransomware Attack

The category of cyber-attack that makes the host system inaccessible until a certain condition is met is referred to as a ransomware attack. If a system is exposed to ransomware, all of its files, data, and privileges get lock until a certain ransom is not sent to the attacker. Usually, demanded ransom is digital currency i.e. Bitcoin, Ethereum, EOS, etc.

15. Sniffing/Eavesdropping

Popularly known as Man in the Middle (MITM) attack, eavesdropping is the interference in the network traffic to access confidential information. Depending upon the attack, it can be passive or active, implying that the attacker can grab the traffic on the network silently or by actively communicating as a friendly unit. Public Wi-Fi is the most common cause of eavesdrop attack. To prevent network traffic from this attack, data encryption/decryption techniques are used.

While there are many ways for attackers to hack into your system, you can follow the internet security protocols, can take precautionary measures, and can understand the actual offence for prevention. With that being said, keep your anti-virus software updated, frequently scan to identify threats, use strong passwords, and keep the firewall settings updated.

Check the comment section below for additional information, share what you know, or ask a question about this article by leaving a comment below. And, to quickly find answers to your questions, use our search Search engine.

Note: Some of the information in samples on this website may have been impersonated or spoofed.

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Online Threat Alerts Security Tips

Pay the safest way

Credit cards are the safest way to pay for online purchases because you can dispute the charges if you never get the goods or services or if the offer was misrepresented. Federal law limits your liability to $50 if someone makes unauthorized charges to your account, and most credit card issuers will remove them completely if you report the problem promptly.

Guard your personal information

In any transaction you conduct, make sure to check with your state or local consumer protection agency and the Better Business Bureau (BBB) to see if the seller, charity, company, or organization is credible. Be especially wary if the entity is unfamiliar to you. Always call the number found on a website’s contact information to make sure the number legitimately belongs to the entity you are dealing with.

Be careful of the information you share

Never give out your codes, passwords or personal information, unless you are sure of who you're dealing with

Know who you’re dealing with

Crooks pretending to be from companies you do business with may call or send an email, claiming they need to verify your personal information. Don’t provide your credit card or bank account number unless you are actually paying for something and know who you are sending payment to. Your social security number should not be necessary unless you are applying for credit. Be especially suspicious if someone claiming to be from a company with whom you have an account asks for information that the business already has.

Check your accounts

Regularly check your account transactions and report any suspicious or unauthorised transactions.

Don’t believe promises of easy money

If someone claims that you can earn money with little or no work, get a loan or credit card even if you have bad credit, or make money on an investment with little or no risk, it’s probably a scam. Oftentimes, offers that seem too good to be true, actually are too good to be true.

Do not open email from people you don’t know

If you are unsure whether an email you received is legitimate, try contacting the sender directly via other means. Do not click on any links in an email unless you are sure it is safe.

Think before you click

If an email or text message looks suspicious, don’t open any attachments or click on the links.

Verify urgent requests or unsolicited emails, messages or phone calls before you respond

If you receive a message or a phone call asking for immediate action and don't know the sender, it could be a phishing message.

Be careful with links and new website addresses

Malicious website addresses may appear almost identical to legitimate sites. Scammers often use a slight variation in spelling or logo to lure you. Malicious links can also come from friends whose email has unknowingly been compromised, so be careful.

Secure your personal information

Before providing any personal information, such as your date of birth, Social Security number, account numbers, and passwords, be sure the website is secure.

Stay informed on the latest cyber threats

Keep yourself up to date on current scams by visiting this website daily.

Use Strong Passwords

Strong passwords are critical to online security.

Keep your software up to date and maintain preventative software programs

Keep all of your software applications up to date on your computers and mobile devices. Install software that provides antivirus, firewall, and email filter services.

Update the operating systems on your electronic devices

Make sure your operating systems (OSs) and applications are up to date on all of your electronic devices. Older and unpatched versions of OSs and software are the target of many hacks. Read the CISA security tip on Understanding Patches and Software Updates for more information.

What if You Got Scammed?

Stop Contact With The Scammer

Hang up the phone. Do not reply to emails, messages, or letters that the scammer sends. Do not make any more payments to the scammer. Beware of additional scammers who may contact you claiming they can help you get your lost money back.

Secure Your Finances

  • Report potentially compromised bank account, credit or debit card information to your financial institution(s) immediately. They may be able to cancel or reverse fraudulent transactions.
  • Notify the three major credit bureaus. They can add a fraud alert to warn potential credit grantors that you may be a victim of identity theft. You may also want to consider placing a free security freeze on your credit report. Doing so prevents lenders and others from accessing your credit report entirely, which will prevent them from extending credit:

Check Your Computer

If your computer was accessed or otherwise affected by a scam, check to make sure that your anti-virus is up-to-date and running and that your system is free of malware and keylogging software. You may also need to seek the help of a computer repair company. Consider utilizing the Better Business Bureau’s website to find a reputable company.

Change Your Account Passwords

Update your bank, credit card, social media, and email account passwords to try to limit further unauthorized access. Make sure to choose strong passwords when changing account passwords.

Report The Scam

Reporting helps protect others. While agencies can’t always track down perpetrators of crimes against scammers, they can utilize the information gathered to record patterns of abuse which may lead to action being taken against a company or industry.

Report your issue to the following agencies based on the nature of the scam:

  • Local Law Enforcement: Consumers are encouraged to report scams to their local police department or sheriff’s office, especially if you lost money or property or had your identity compromised.
  • Federal Trade Commission: Contact the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) at 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357) or use the Online Complaint Assistant to report various types of fraud, including counterfeit checks, lottery or sweepstakes scams, and more.
  • If someone is using your personal information, like your Social Security, credit card, or bank account number, to open new accounts, make purchases, or get a tax refund, report it at This federal government site will also help you create your Identity Theft Report and a personal recovery plan based on your situation. Questions can be directed to 877-ID THEFT.

How To Recognize a Phishing Scam

Scammers use email or text messages to try to steal your passwords, account numbers, or Social Security numbers. If they get that information, they could get access to your email, bank, or other accounts. Or they could sell your information to other scammers. Scammers launch thousands of phishing attacks like these every day — and they’re often successful.

Scammers often update their tactics to keep up with the latest news or trends, but here are some common tactics used in phishing emails or text messages:

Phishing emails and text messages often tell a story to trick you into clicking on a link or opening an attachment. You might get an unexpected email or text message that looks like it’s from a company you know or trust, like a bank or a credit card or utility company. Or maybe it’s from an online payment website or app. The message could be from a scammer, who might

  • say they’ve noticed some suspicious activity or log-in attempts — they haven’t
  • claim there’s a problem with your account or your payment information — there isn’t
  • say you need to confirm some personal or financial information — you don’t
  • include an invoice you don’t recognize — it’s fake
  • want you to click on a link to make a payment — but the link has malware
  • say you’re eligible to register for a government refund — it’s a scam
  • offer a coupon for free stuff — it’s not real

About Online Threat Alerts (OTA)

Online Threat Alerts or OTA is an anti-cybercrime community that started in 2012. OTA alerts the public to cyber crimes and other web threats.

By alerting the public, we have prevented a lot of online users from getting scammed or becoming victims of cybercrimes.

With the ever-increasing number of people going online, it important to have a community like OTA that continuously alerts or protects those same people from cyber-criminals, scammers and hackers, who are every day finding new ways of carrying out their malicious activities.

Online users can help by reporting suspicious or malicious messages or websites to OTA. And, if they want to determine if a message or website is a threat or scam, they can use OTA's search engine to search for the website or parts of the message for information.

Help maintain Online Threat Alerts (OTA).

The 15 most common types of Cyber Attacks