The Many Different Types of Cyber Attacks

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Cyber attacks are all too frequent nowadays. In 2010, there were roughly 3.8 million breached records. 2016 saw that number balloon to 3.1 billion. What's more, there are numerous types of cyber attacks, some more complicated than others.

The difference between each of these types of cyber attacks is mostly dependent on what the hackers want to achieve with them. They could wish to obtain your data, or maybe they are interested in taking control of your device and demand a ransom for its release.

The most common of these cyber attacks, however, are vectors and malware. Here is a short rundown of these common types of cyber attacks.


In short, malware is a piece of software designed to disrupt and gain access to a computer system. Listed below are the most common types of malware.


A virus is a piece of malicious code. It gets downloaded onto a computer without the user's knowledge or consent and can replicate itself and spread to other networks by attaching to various files.


Like its name would suggest, ransomware translates to a particular type of malicious software that, once installed on the computer, will begin demanding ransom. There are different types of ransomware, particularly concerning their complexity. While tech-savvy individuals can reverse some simple ransomware, others encrypt the victim's files, which make them completely inaccessible.


Worms work more or less the same as computer viruses in that they are self-replicating. The significant difference is they do not require attachment to a program. What they do, however, is to look for vulnerabilities in the security system and report them back to the hacker.


Trojans viruses are programs that may appear like any other program that performs specific functions but in reality, its purpose is to perform all sorts of malicious activity. Trojans typically disguise as all sorts of virus removing software.

Spyware & Adware

Spyware and adware can get installed on your computer without your knowledge, either by opening various attachments, clicking on links, or downloading infected software. These types of malware will monitor your computer's activity and collect personal information from wherever it can.

Attack Vectors

Deriving their name from biology; attack vectors is the method used by malware and viruses to propagate themselves and infect computers. The vectors come in three primary forms.

Social Engineering

Social engineering, in the context of IT security, refers to the psychological manipulation of people in performing various actions like clicking on malicious links, downloading malicious software, or divulging personal information.

Phishing, for instance, is the attempt to access sensitive information like passwords or bank information, via email or other forms of digital communication. The Nigerian Prince scam is an example. Pharming, on the other hand, is an attempt to guide people to access a fake website. It is where people will input sensitive information by pretending to be a bank or other such organization.

Man in the Middle

It is a sort of attack where the attacker manages to take control of the communication between two people, impersonating them and asking each to divulge their information. While each of the two users is under the impression that they are talking to each other, they are communicating with the hacker.


It is a type of cyber attack that installs malware on a computer as soon as the user visits an infected website. These websites can belong to the hackers, themselves, or it can be a legitimate website that's been compromised.


Each of these cyber attacks can be easily implemented within a company if it doesn't have the necessary IT security set in place. It is vital for every organization to evaluate the level of its security and educate its personnel about the dangers they are faced with online. If you don't feel up to the task, contact us today to see how we can help.



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