8 common types of cyberattacks and how to prevent them

Types of Cyberattacks: In this cyber battleground, hackers are perpetually on the prowl, seeking chinks in the armor guarding your digital life. Whether it’s your web browsers, operating systems, or chat applications, any piece of software could become their bullseye. The ever-evolving dance between the tech guardians and the nefarious actors sees developers releasing patches as swiftly as security researchers unearth fresh vulnerabilities.

Here at Proton, our dedicated security squad remains vigilant, tracking emerging cyber threats. Most of these threats often fall into a few discernible categories, and understanding them arms you with the knowledge needed to thwart their advances.

Types of cyberattacks:

Let’s delve into some of the most rampant assaults targeting individuals and enterprises, followed by some nifty tips to keep your identity, finances, and data in an impenetrable fortress.

1. Phishing:

Picture this – over 500 million phishing attempts surfaced in 2022, solidifying its status as a reigning cyber menace. In this treacherous gambit, hackers deploy deceit to wrest sensitive details like credit card info or your precious login credentials. The ruse takes various forms, perhaps an email masquerading as a familiar company, coaxing you to click a link that leads to a trap, designed solely to harvest your login credentials.

Phishing isn’t a one-trick pony; it can also serve as a launchpad for other attacks, like malware. It can strike via email, SMS, social media, or even a seemingly harmless phone call. The attackers prey on your urgency, aiming to lure you into clicking or downloading without a second thought. Beware; these cyber fiends are upping their game, crafting deceptions that are increasingly difficult to spot.

2. Malware:

Enter the ominous realm of malware – the digital malevolence engineered to wreak havoc. Unlike helpful software, malware has one nefarious agenda: to harm you, your device, or your network. This malicious cohort has a versatile arsenal, from pilfering sensitive data to holding it hostage or orchestrating infrastructure chaos.

Malware doesn’t knock politely; it can infiltrate your device through various avenues, including cunning phishing schemes or drive-by downloads that seize control when you innocently visit a tainted website.

3. Spoofing:

Spoofing is a master of disguise, hoodwinking unsuspecting victims by mimicking trusted sources. This nefarious chameleon could pose as an email address, a website, or any form of identification to fulfill its malicious objectives – whether it’s pilfering data, breaching your network, or infecting your device with malware. Spoofing is a favored modus operandi for hackers engaged in other cyber escapades like phishing or man-in-the-middle attacks.

Email providers have upped their game with authentication mechanisms like SPF, DKIM, and DMARC to thwart email spoofing. Yet, not all providers have deployed these shields.

4. Insider Threats:

In the corporate arena, the insiders pose a formidable risk. Those within your organization or contractors wielding access to your systems come armed with two coveted assets: your trust and system access. Like external hackers, insiders may covet financial gains, data heists, espionage, or even surreptitious malware implantation. Corporate espionage and data breaches have borne witness to the treacherous terrain of insider threats, sometimes even unfolding accidentally.

5. Social Engineering:

Behold the art of social engineering, the sophisticated ruse that manipulates human psychology to unveil data or gain system access. In this orchestrated dance of deception, hackers may impersonate an IT worker, coaxing you into revealing personal details under the guise of “account confirmation.” They might even proffer USB drives tainted with malware, appealing to curiosity or fear to cloud your judgment.

Social engineering has left its indelible mark on high-profile hacks, such as the 2020 Twitter breach that peddled a Bitcoin scam through clever manipulation.

6. Man-in-the-Middle Attacks:

Hackers practicing the dark arts of man-in-the-middle (MITM) attacks position themselves as covert eavesdroppers during online communications. Their objectives vary from snatching sensitive data to duping victims into taking detrimental actions or censoring content. Thanks to TLS, MITM assaults are no walk in the park, typically demanding the forging of public key certificates. We, at Proton, fortify against MITM threats through techniques like Address Verification.

MITM attacks find favor with authoritarian regimes seeking to monitor or control their citizens’ internet traffic, illustrating the gravity of this menace.

7. Code Injection Attacks:

Code-injection attacks are the insidious infiltrators that embed rogue code into vulnerable computer systems, triggering potentially catastrophic consequences. Remember Yahoo’s colossal data breach in 2012? Hundreds of thousands of user credentials vanished into the abyss as hackers injected malicious code through innocuous search boxes and web forms.

Recent developments have seen injection attacks enter a new frontier, as security researchers have trained large language models to veer in unintended directions, showcasing the inherent risks in these ventures.

8. Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS):

In the realm of cyber warfare, the Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attack reigns supreme, often targeting business websites and networks. Hackers mobilize a legion of compromised computers to barrage a company’s servers with requests, paralyzing operations. Motives behind DDoS assaults range from extortion, where attackers demand ransom to cease the onslaught, to amateur hackers seeking notoriety.

While individuals needn’t fret over DDoS, it’s imperative for enterprises to scrutinize service reliability and uptime guarantees, as prior DDoS encounters often lead to hefty investments in infrastructure fortifications.

Mitigating Cybersecurity Attacks:

Now, the million-dollar question – how do you shield yourself from this digital pandemonium? Here are your formidable weapons:

  1. Fortify Passwords: Your first line of defense is fortified by robust, unique, and intricate passwords. Employ a trusty password manager to generate and safeguard these digital keys.
  2. Enlist 2FA: If a hacker breaches your password, 2FA swoops in as your guardian angel. Activate it wherever possible, adding an extra layer of security.
  3. Update Software: Cyberattacks adore exploiting software loopholes. Be swift to update your devices and applications; these patches often contain crucial shields.
  4. Stay Phish-Savvy: As phishing tactics grow stealthier, exercise caution. Never click on unexpected links or download email attachments from unsolicited sources.
  5. Embrace Secure Services: Choose platforms that champion robust encryption and security measures. At Proton, we pride ourselves on safeguarding your data through end-to-end encryption, ensuring your digital sanctum remains impervious.

Now, armed with knowledge and these cybersecurity strategies, you’re better prepared to navigate the treacherous cyber seas. Stay vigilant, for the digital realm is an ever-shifting battleground where knowledge and awareness are your greatest allies.