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Most Common Types of Cyber-Attacks (Security Attacks) Faced by Many Businesses

Cyber attacks are truly one of the worst problems of the 21st century, especially for IT personnel. What’s more threatening is that these virtual attacks come by the dozens and there’s no stopping to them.

In fact, according to an annual Security Report by CISCO, the sheer volume of cyberattacks has grown fourfold between 2016 and 2017. Moreover, the average cost of data breaches is expected to exceed $150 million by 2020.

Well, no wonder why security experts firmly believe that cybercrimes would eventually become more lucrative than illegal drug trafficking.

Anyway, profitable or not is a discussion for later. For now, let’s talk about the common types of cyberattacks that businesses across the globe frequently face.

most common types of cyberattacks

The Common Types of Cyberattacks

Though cyber attacks are carried out for varied purposes, the techniques used to execute those attacks remain somewhat similar. Secondly, cybercriminals have arsenals full of hacking tools and resources, and they would add more variations to the bucket if the need arises.

For now, we are going to discuss the most common cyber attacks type that cybercriminals draw upon to design deadlier variations.

  1. Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) Attack
  2. SQL Injection Attack
  3. Phishing
  4. Men in the Middle (MITM) Attack
  5. Cross-Site Scripting (XSS) Attack
  6. Zero-Day Exploit
  7. Password Attack
  8. Advanced Persistent Threats (APT)
  1. Ransomware Attack
  2. Birthday Attack
  3. Eavesdropping Attack
  4. Drive-by-Downloads Attack
  5. Spyware
  6. Inside Attack
  7. Macro Viruses
Now without further delay, let’s dive into the one by one:

1. Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) Attack

DDoS attacks are initiated to overwhelm a specific system or a network of systems with a high-volume of unwanted traffic. The unusual volume of requests ends up exhausting the bandwidth as well as the resources of the systems, rendering them unable to respond to any more requests.

There are various variations hackers can use to carry out small to large-scale DDoS attacks such as Teardrop attack, TCP SYN flood attack, and botnets, to name a few. If you have ever heard about the Mirai botnet, you would know that it is the same malware that was used to carry out one of the largest DDoS attacks.

2. SQL Injection Attack

Structured Query Language injection is one of the oldest tricks in the cybercrime books and the most effective. It is the same attack that once forced the PlayStation Network (PSN) to reveal the personal data of 77 million global users.

An SQL injection happens when a malefactor tries to inject a malicious query into an SQL-powered server. As a result of the exploit, the server is then forced to expose sensitive data directly from the database. The SQL injection attack can be executed by typing an SQL query into an input field on a webpage such as a search box or the login field.

Through an SQL Injection, the attacker can not only peek into the database but also modify the data, run an administrative command, and even wipe out the entire database.

3. Phishing

Did you know that over 1 million new phishing websites are created every month? It is one of the most troublesome cyberattacks that ends up costing $1.6 million for a mid-size company alone.

Phishing is usually conducted through fraudulent emails that appeared to have sent from a reliable sender or source. The email contains links that hackers create to steal users’ credit card number, other sensitive credentials and, in some cases, install viruses on the users’ machine.

Over the years, hackers have come up with various types of phishing attacks such as deceptive phishing, spear phishing, pharming, etc.

4. Men in the Middle (MITM) Attack

How would you feel if we tell you that there might be a hacker on your network, listening to your private conversation or monitoring your browsing activities? Surely, you would jump to the edge of your seat.

Well, MITM attacks are the sneakiest of all other types of cyberattacks. In this type of attack, the attackers compromise a network and insert themselves between a client and a server or two parties. Attackers can carry out such attacks in various ways. For instance, the malefactors can compromise a vulnerable WiFi and insert themselves between a user and the network. Session hijacking, IP spoofing, and Replay are some of the common types of MITM attacks.

5. Cross-Site Scripting (XSS) Attack

XSS is a bit more complex cyberattack than the ones discussed above. In fact, the attacker would need to go through certain steps before their goals are finally achieved.

In an XSS attack, the cybercriminal identifies a web server with script injection vulnerability. The attacker then sends a payload of malicious injection to the webserver which consequently sends the page to the victim’s browser with the payload in the HTML body. As soon as the script is executed, the page sends a cookie from the victim’s browser to the attack which is then used to carry out session hijacking.

In the worst cases, the attacker can even monitor the victim’s keystrokes and collect another type of sensitive data.

6. Zero-Day Exploit

It is, basically, a vulnerability in a system or software that hackers tend to exploit before the vulnerability is patched. In this type of attack, cybercriminals scan devices or software for vulnerabilities, spot a weakness, create tools to exploit it and then launch the attack.

7. Password Attack

Did you know that a great number of internet users still use “123456789” as their password? One of the most common ways hackers try to gain access to victims’ password is through the Brute Force attack.

Believe it or not, over the years, brute force and other types of password attacks have been increased by 400 percent.

8. Advanced Persistent Threats (APT)

APT is one of the most complicated types of attacks where you won’t be able to track the source of the attack or the technique used to carry it out. In fact, different techniques like reconnaissance, discover and capture are used to execute the APT attack.

9. Ransomware Attack

It is a type of malware attack that has proven to be troublesome for not only businesses but other sectors as well such as the healthcare industry. In this type of attack, the malware blocks victims’ access to their data. The victims are then threatened to shell out the demanded ransom unless they want their data to get deleted or abused.

10. Birthday Attack

Birthday attacks often come under the category of brute force attacks. Regardless, it is a type of cryptographic attack that tries to crack the hash algorithms which are used for checking the integrity of a message or data.

11. Eavesdropping Attack

Eavesdropping is a type of Men-in-the-Middle attack where the attacker intercepts a network and eavesdrop on all the traffic transmitting through it. In this type of attack, the eavesdropper can steal victims’ credential information such as credit card number, login ids, and passwords and even modify the request.

The best way to protect yourself against eavesdropping attack is by using a VPN. Search, what is a VPN on Google and you will not only get detailed guides on the tool but also some of the best VPN providers that offer quality services such as PureVPN, CyberGhost, etc.

12. Drive-by-Downloads Attack

It is one of the common types of attacks that attackers draw upon to spread malware. Cyber malefactors find and identify websites that have vulnerabilities. After identifying the vulnerability, the attackers inject malicious code into the HTTP or PHP code. Once done, the attackers sit back and relax while the malware gets executed on every user’s device who visits the page.

13. Spyware

It is a type of malware that usually comes with a freeware tool, and as a result, it is installed with the freeware. The purpose of this malware is to send the victim’s confidential data to the attacker.

14. Inside Attack

Inside attacks are riskier and deadlier than any cyber attack in this list. After all, these types of attacks solely depend on the users and, in most cases, the employees in an organization. However, inside attacks are not always intentional. In fact, some attacks happen accidentally or due to employees’ negligence.

15. Macro Viruses

Macro viruses are one of the many types of malware and the most dreadful amongst all. The malicious tools infect applications, mostly the .exe files. The moment an application is executed, the virus initiates as well, replicating itself to infect more apps on the system.


To fight off digital threats, you first need to have a good understanding of it. Luckily, there are a good number of effective methods you can consider to protect your device and your data. For instance, you can set up a firewall, use antimalware, update your OS security patches or install a security tool like a VPN.

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About Kevin Austin


Kevin Austin is a cybersecurity expert and has many years of experience in the tech industry, He enjoys writing about information security, ethical hacking, IOT and anything related to technology. Also, Kevin spends most of his time learning new stuff and exploring new things around the world.

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