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May 19, 2021

Most Common Types of Cyber Attacks

types of cyber attacks

While cyber-attacks are a concern for businesses of any size, it’s not always top of mind. Business owners have plenty on their plate, but cyber-attacks are not something that owners can afford to deprioritize. Cybersecurity is now a critical business function just like any other. 

Let’s go over the top types of cyber attacks, what you need to know, and how properly secure your business from each type of attack. 

Phishing Attacks

Phishing attacks are the most common scam. The scammer will pretend to be a legitimate person or business seeking sensitive information. For example, a phishing scam may come in the form of an email pretending to be a vendor who needs to confirm account information. It could also be a scammer impersonating a partner who requires client information or employee information. 

Phishing attacks come in many forms and are growing more sophisticated every day. One of the reasons they are so common is because it’s easy for people to misunderstand the identity of legitimate emails in today’s digital world. In addition, phishing attacks are difficult to combat. They are convincing and difficult to trace. 

Plus, rather than target a weakness in a company’s technology, they target people at that business, making it even more challenging to cope with. 

Companies that want to avoid phishing scams should have a few best practices in place. The first step is to educate employees about phishing, what it is, and how to report phishing attempts. Regularly warn employees as part of your irregular newsletter or employee communication plan about recent phishing attacks they should be aware of and watch out for. 

Malware Attacks

Malware is the next most significant threat to individuals and businesses. It is software that is designed for malicious purposes. Some of the more common types you may have heard of include viruses and trojan horses. The sole purpose of malware is to exploit a technical weakness to destroy, cripple or damage devices. 

Sometimes damage is the only goal. Other times, the malware is designed to cause damage while accessing sensitive information and data on the user’s device. Getting rid of malware is expensive and difficult. The best defense against malware is to be proactive by running scans often and getting rid of malware before it can take hold of a device. Blocking malware is also advisable by using firewalls and other protective software. 

Ransomware Attack 

Ransomware is similar to malware in that an attacker or scammer will gain access to a business by exploiting technological weaknesses. Instead of simply trying to destroy or damage a device, the scammer will lock the device and demand payment, a ransom, to get the device unlocked. 

This happens to individuals, businesses, and even entire cities. Ransomware attackers continue to attack smaller cities that can’t afford high-grade cybersecurity measures. Utilities, databases, and more are held for ransom. More often than not, the city will pay the ransom because it is less expensive than hiring a cybersecurity firm. Instead, they implement better cybersecurity measures after the attack to prevent it from happening again. 

Final Conclusion on Common Types of Cyber Attacks

While every business is at risk of cyberattacks, an organization can take plenty of measures to protect themselves, their data, and their clients and employees. 

Phishing attacks require an educated and watchful person who understands what phishing attacks are and how to avoid them. Malware attacks mean every device should have some basic protections in place at all times to deter attackers. And to avoid ransomware, never keep sensitive information on your device. Opt instead for cloud-based computing and added security measures like using a VPN, firewalls, and more. 

In combinations, all of these cybersecurity measures can help reduce the likelihood of all these types of cyber attacks. While you may not be completely protected, something is better than nothing. Scammers look for easy targets. So, set up barriers that will deter attackers from the start.

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