Unfortunately, cyberattacks have become a frequent part of our world. Once criminals learned that there was easy money to be made, this problem continues to get worse with every passing year. While we certainly can’t teach you everything about cybersecurity in a single article, it wouldn’t hurt to learn about these six common cyber attacks and how you can prevent them.
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This one should be discussed first because it is the most common type of hacking attack. It surprises many people to learn that most hacking attacks aren’t all that sophisticated. On the contrary, most of them involve variations of old-fashioned con artist trickery that have been adapted for the modern age. When we’re talking about the initial mode of attack, phishing (Also called “social engineering”) is the most common means by which an intruder gets their foot in the door.
Phishing involves impersonation and deception, with the purpose of tricking the intended victim into revealing sensitive information. This could be anything from website or network login credentials to financial info or anything else that a hacker thinks they can use. Most people are sensible enough to avoid revealing such sensitive info unless there is a legitimate reason. Phishing involves artificially creating a situation in which a person would normally share sensitive information.
The best way (by far) to prevent phishing is to educate people on the subject. Most people have received suspicious emails or text messages with suspicious links, so you can definitely appeal to their personal interests here. Once people learn about these tricks and how they work, it’s not that hard to avoid them. Thankfully, most of them are quite amateur and, therefore, quite easy to detect.
This is another common form of attack, and it works because most people and organizations simply aren’t prepared to deal with its consequences. Ransomware works by using encryption in a weaponized fashion. Whereas most encryption is used to protect data from cybercriminals, this kind of encryption is used to lock the victim out of their entire device and/or network.
Due to the amount of time it would take to decrypt everything with standard decryption tools, you only have two options: First, you can pay the ransom and hope the hackers keep their word (spoiler: they probably won’t). Alternatively, you can just delete everything and restore your system from the most recent backup. That brings us to the only real solution for ransomware: Regular and complete data backup in the form of system images.
3. SQL Injection
This is a somewhat more sophisticated attack that involves the injection of malicious code into a particular website. In this way, hackers can use a legitimate website as a carrier for malware. In some cases, they might simply use it as a way to snoop on users of that particular website and steal data from them by one means or another. Even if you don’t understand how websites execute code, all you need to know is that SQL injection is basically the digital equivalent of someone hijacking a merchant’s vessel and turning it into a pirate ship.
The only real way to prevent these attacks is through the use of hard-coded input verification on the part of all relevant applications. Obviously, this is something that requires an educated professional, as it involves coding. You can also make these attacks far less likely to succeed by using a good VPN service.
4. Deceptive Malware Downloads
Sometimes, a hacker doesn’t necessarily need to seek you out. Sometimes, they will borrow a page from the spider’s book and lay a trap. If you are one of those unfortunate enough to step into the web, you’re hit. This is why you need to be careful about what you download. When downloading software, which requires more extensive permissions, you should always make sure you are getting it from the official source. For instance, some types of malware have been known to impersonate Adobe Acrobat Reader, since that is a free and commonly-used program that many people download every day.
5. Password Cracking Attacks
These are also sometimes called “brute force” attacks. By using special password cracking programs, hackers will sometimes attempt to directly hack your password. The software that is involved in this process works by using many failed guesses to gradually decode the entire password.
The good news is that these programs are only effective for short and/or simple passwords. The longer and more complex a password gets, the harder it is for these programs to do their dirty work. By the time you get to 18-20 characters with numbers, capitals, and symbols, it is no longer realistic for a brute force attack to work. So, make sure everyone on your network uses good passwords and this threat can be neutralized easily.
6. Insider Hacking
If all these other methods fail, there is one other method that a hacker might use. Physical infiltration simply requires that a hacker become employed with a particular company, which might not be too hard. Since many hackers have extensive IT knowledge, that would be their most likely route by which to gain employment. This is why you make sure to vet all your employees thoroughly, especially IT employees. Unless you are dealing with a first-time criminal, there will probably be some red flags when such a criminal attempts to gain employment.
These aren’t the only six ways in which hackers can gain illicit access to devices and networks. However, these are probably the six most common, so that’s a good place to begin your research. We encourage you to learn as much as you can on the subject of cybersecurity, as that knowledge is the best protection you can get.
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