Many people are not aware of what a cyber attack is. It is the art of covert (or hidden) use of computer technologies to carry out sabotage or other activities. Cyber attacks can happen online, over the internet, or through a process of hacking. Any electronic data that can be sent over the internet or by computer-to-computer transmission can be attacked. An attack may also involve denial of service attacks, which is when a large amount of network traffic is halted by a software or hardware problem. In the past, a cyber attack was the work of malicious hackers or a group of dedicated individuals; however, many attacks occur without any type of notice or involvement from the victim.

There are a number of different types of cyber attacks including; remote control attacks, data mining, and social engineering techniques. Each of these techniques have the ability to gather confidential or sensitive data in a non-consenting manner that can be later used against the individual. Attack techniques may be executed through the internet, email, text, phone calls, VOIP, and the public cloud environments. Some examples of cyber attacks include:

Targeted attacks: This is one of the most common types of cyber attacks. They usually occur when attackers exploit some vulnerability present in systems or applications. The most common attack vector is a vulnerability in a system of software such as a programming language. The attacker would then try to get sensitive information such as; credit card numbers, bank account numbers, passwords, customer lists, and other such private and confidential data. The data is then used for various online transactions.

Covert Attack: A cyber attack can also be classified as a covert or strategic attack. The perpetrator will use a variety of methods to try to breach a system’s security. Most attacks contain some element of surprise. A well developed covert or surprise cyber attack will have elements that are not easily detectable. Such elements can include changing firewall settings, using different user names, or planting fake anti-spyware programs. In some cases, attackers may use “undercover” or dummy software programs.

DDoS (Directional Infection) Cyber attacks are conducted by utilizing multiple networks to send harmful, erroneous or unwanted information to specific target destination. These malicious scripts can originate from anywhere in the world. As a result, the information systems exposed in a DDoS attack are usually vulnerable and easily exploitable. Common types of DDoS include Distributed Denial-of-Service (DDoS) attacks, Botnet attacks, and Spyware and Adware attacks. Common methods of attack include: port flooding, packet flooding, and application spoofing.

Computer Winter: Cyber criminals may use malware and other vulnerabilities in your computer to conduct illegal activities. They may use the vulnerabilities to send or receive confidential or personal information, or they may use the vulnerability to do any other illegal activities. The types of activities that are possible include phishing, data theft, and unauthorized access. In more severe cases, computer cyber attacks may cause system downtime and even physical intrusion.

Mobile Attacks: A majority of today’s attacks are conducted via the internet and emails. The purpose of a cyber attack is to exploit some sort of vulnerability present in either a consumer product or an individual computer. Most attacks occur when attackers gain access to a system through several means. Common ways of gaining access include: spear phishing, data capture, reverse email look up, and message delivery. A good practice for corporations is for their network administrators to check for signs of a possible cyber attack and to fix vulnerabilities as soon as possible.

Prevention is better than cure. This principle is often illustrated by the law of probability. If one factor has a high probability of occurring, then the chances of other factors also occurring are also very high. Companies must implement prevention measures to lower the threat of serious physical or financial damage from online malware attacks. By implementing policies aimed at educating staff, companies reduce their risk of being attacked. Staff awareness programs, such as mobile security tracking, can help prevent phishing attacks and other malware by alerting personnel to harmful or suspicious activity.

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