Different types of cyber threats are constantly being defended against by cyber security professionals. Cyber attacks hit businesses and private systems every day, and the variety has grown. “There are two types of companies: those that have been hacked, and those that don’t know they’ve been hacked,” said former Cisco CEO John Chambers.
Cyber attacks have many motives. Money’s one. Cyber attackers can take a system offline and demand money to restore it. Today, ransomware, an attack that requires payment to restore services, is more sophisticated than ever.
It’s not just companies that are vulnerable to cyber attacks, it’s also individuals, often because they use insecure public networks and store personal information on their phones.
It’s important to track evolving and increasing cyber attacks. Cyber security professionals need to keep up with threats and cyber security information, so getting an online cyber security master’s degree can be helpful. The University of North Dakota’s online Master of Science in Cyber Security program gives students a deep understanding of cyber attacks.
What Is a Cyber Security Threat?
Cyber security threats are attacks that try to access data, disrupt digital operations, or damage information. Cyber threats can come from a variety of sources, including corporate spies, hacktivists, terrorist groups, hostile nation-states, criminal organizations, lone hackers, and disgruntled employees.
Many high-profile cyber attacks have exposed sensitive data in recent years. In 2017, Equifax breached the data of roughly 143 million consumers, including birth dates, addresses, and Social Security numbers. Marriott International revealed in 2018 that hackers accessed its servers and stole 500 million customer details. Both breaches were enabled by the organization’s failure to implement, test, and retest technical safeguards, like encryption, authentication, and firewalls.
Among other potentially damaging actions, cyber attackers can use sensitive data to steal information or access financial accounts, which is why cyber security professionals are essential.
7 Types of Cyber Security Threats
Malware includes spyware, ransomware, viruses, and worms. Malware is activated when you click on a malicious link or attachment, which installs dangerous software. Once malware is activated, it can:
- Ransomware blocks access to key network components
- Install additional harmful software
- Get information from the hard drive (spyware)
- Make the system inoperable by destroying individual parts
Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) describes Emotet as a “modular, advanced banking Trojan that downloads and drops other banking Trojans.”. “Emotet remains one of the most destructive malwares.”
Denial of Service
Denial of service (DoS) is when a computer or network is flooded with requests so it can’t respond. Distributed DoS (DDoS) does the same thing, but from a computer network. DoS attacks are often carried out with flood attacks to disrupt the “handshake” process. Some cyber attackers use the time that a network is down to launch other attacks. A botnet is a type of DDoS where millions of systems are infected with malware and controlled by a hacker, says Jeff Melnick of Netwrix. Sometimes called zombie systems, botnets overwhelm a target’s processing power. There are a lot of botnets in different places and it’s hard to find them.
Man in the Middle
Man-in-the-middle attacks happen when hackers insert themselves into a two-party transaction. Cisco says they can filter and steal data after interrupting traffic. When a visitor uses an unsecured public Wi-Fi network, MITM attacks happen. A hacker inserts malware between the visitor and the network, then installs software and steals data.
Phishing attacks use fake communications, like emails, to trick the receiver into opening and following instructions, like giving a credit card number. According to Cisco, the goal is to steal sensitive data like credit card numbers and login information.
Structured Query Language (SQL) injections are cyber attacks that insert malicious code into a SQL server. Infected servers release information. Malicious code can be submitted by typing it into a vulnerable website search box.
Cyber attackers can access a lot of information with the right password. Data Insider defines social engineering as “a strategy cyber attackers use that relies heavily on human interaction and often involves tricking people into breaking security rules.” Getting access to a password database or guessing a password are other types of password attacks.