Types of Cybersecurity Threats

Explore The Most Common Types of Cybersecurity Threats

Vidhi Gupta
July 7th, 2024
101
4:00 Minutes

What Are Cybersecurity Threats?

Cyber security threats refers to the acts that are performed by individuals or groups with a harmful intent. The goal could be to cause damage, disrupt computing systems or even steal data. There are many categories within cyber threats. Some of the common ones are social engineering, malware, man in the middle attacks, injection attacks and denial of service.

Cyber threats can sprout from many different sources. These can either be from terrorist groups, individual hackers, trusted employees or contractors, or hostile nation states. Thus, it is always best to stay prepared as any source could be a threat.

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Common Sources of Cyber Threats

Let's discuss some common sources of cyber threats that prevail today. There are too many to sum up here and hence, we'll be discussing the most common ones.

Nation States

A hostile country may launch a cyber attack against local institutions or companies. The goal is to interfere with their communications, cause damage and create disorder.

Terrorist Organizations

Terrorists have often resorted to conducting cyber attacks that threaten national security, target critical infrastructure, cause bodily harm to citizens and disrupt economies.

Criminal Groups

Many organized hacker groups intend to get into a computing system for monetary gain. They utilize different techniques like spam, phishing, malware and spyware. The goal is to steal private information, execute online scams and extort.

Hackers

Individual hackers often make organizations their target. For this, they use different attack techniques. Their key motive is revenge, personal gain, political agendas or financial profit. They usually create new threats to heighten their criminal capabilities as well as make their standing stronger within the hacker community.

Malicious Insiders

Employees who have access to a company's assets may also misuse their privileges. They could easily damage systems or steal information for personal or monetary gain. These persons could be contractors, employees, partners or suppliers. Outsiders having compromised privileged accounts can also impersonate the account owner and pose significant threats.

Types of Cybersecurity Threats

There are many types of cyber security threats that are constantly evolving. Each of these target a different side of information technology to exploit its vulnerabilities. It is important to understand the different types of cyber security threats to develop robust defenses. The key types of cyber security threats are-

Malware

Malware refers to a malicious software that is crafted to exploit, compromise or harm a computer system. It has multiple subtypes, including-

  • Viruses: these are programs that get attached to legitimate software and consequently spread as the infected program runs.
  • Spyware: it monitors and collects all key user information secretly without their knowledge.
  • Trojans: it is a malicious software that is constructed as a legitimate software. It tricks users into downloading and executing it.
  • Worms: these are standalone malware that copies itself to spread rapidly to other computers.
  • Ransomware: it encrypts the data of the victim, which gives them power to demand a ransom from the victim for the decryption key.
  • Adware: it displays/ downloads advertising material automatically when a user gets online.

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Man-in-the-Middle Attacks

Man-in-the-Middle attacks, also referred to as MitM, take place when an attacker seizes and alters the communication happening between two parties. These parties do not get any whiff about this attack. It results in the theft of sensitive information. This usually includes financial data and login credentials.

There are many examples of MitM attacks. Common ones are session hijacking, wi-fi eavesdropping, DNS spoofing, HTTPS spoofing and IP spoofing.

Phishing

Phishing attacks are ones where the attacker employs deceptive messages, websites or emails. They trick the users into stating their personal information, like financial information or login credentials. Spear-phishing refers to a more targeted phishing type. In this, attackers customize their messages as per their specific targets, which can be individuals or organizations. It helps in increasing the chances of success.

Denial of Service Attacks

DoS attacks or denial of service attacks are done with the purpose of making a service, network or system unavailable. This is usually done by overwhelming it with a whole lot of internet traffic. These attacks may also cripple the website and online services, leading to financial losses and significant disruption. Different DoS attack techniques include HTTP flood DDoS, UDP flood DDoD and NTP amplification.

SQL Injection

SQL injection attacks are executed with the purpose of exploiting vulnerabilities of an app's software. The goal is to inject various malicious SQL queries post exploitation. These queries have the ability to change a database to modify, delete or access data without any authorization needed. SQL injections are generally employed to breach websites as well as extract sensitive information.

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