As cybercriminals gain experience and expertise, the volume and sophistication of cyberattacks rise dramatically each year. There is no single cause or method of cyber attacks. In any case, it's important to remember that hackers are always looking for ways to breach an organization's security, whether through lax procedures or outdated software.
A cyber attack is any malicious attempt to access, modify, or steal information from a computer or other digital device, or to exploit or damage a network. It's no coincidence that the prevalence of digital commerce in recent years has coincided with a surge in cybercrime.
The endpoint is the primary focus of cybercriminals and the first line of defence for any organisation in the world of remote work. Organizations need to know what kinds of cyber threats their remote workers face and implement endpoint security solutions that can identify and stop those threats before they cause damage.
Here at Security Systems, we provide an extensive range of security monitoring and CCTV security systems.
What is a Cyber Attack?
When someone tries to break into a computer system without permission, they are launching a cyberattack. This could be for the purposes of theft, extortion, disruption, or any number of other bad things.
Whether through carelessness or malice, insiders often cause security breaches. To keep things simple, though, let's assume that a cyberattack is launched by an outsider who has never worked for your company before.
Top 10 Most Common Types of Cyber Attacks
Distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) and denial-of-service (DoS) attacks
Attacking a system in such a way that it becomes unable to meet user demands for its services is known as a denial-of-service threat. Similar to host-based DoS attacks, DDoS attacks are launched from multiple infected host machines that are under the attacker's control.
Denial-of-service attacks are different from other types of attacks because they don't give the attacker any additional power. Some of them will find satisfaction in simply being refused service. If the targeted resource corresponds to a competitor, the attacker may feel justified in attempting to steal it. A denial-of-service (DoS) attack may also be used to make a system inaccessible before launching another kind of attack. I'll give an example shortly that illustrates this, called session hijacking.
Numerous DoS and DDoS attacks exist, including the TCP SYN flood attack, teardrop attack, smurf attack, ping-of-death attack, and botnets.
Flooding TCP SYN attack
During the handshake that begins a Transmission Control Protocol (TCP) session, they can access private data in this way. As the victim system's limited in-process queue fills up with the attacker's connection requests, the attacker ignores the victim's replies. The target system either crashes or becomes unusable when the connection queue fills up waiting for an answer from the attacker's device.
TCP SYN flood attacks can be defended against in several ways.
- Use a firewall that rejects SYN packets to ensure the safety of your servers.
- If you want to keep more connections open for longer, you should make the queue larger.
Since the length and fragmentation offset sectors of successive IP packets on the affected host overlap, it is impossible for the system to successfully reconstruct the packets. The intended machine consequently becomes perplexed and breaks down.
If users haven't applied the necessary patches, a denial-of-service can be avoided by disabling SMBv2 and blocking ports 139 and 445.
A malicious actor can overwhelm a network with requests using IP spoofing as well as ICMP. The attacker sends ICMP echo requests to all broadcast IP addresses. These ICMP requests are being sent from bogus "victim" addresses. An ICMP echo request sent from the victim's address (10.0.0.10) could be forged by an attacker and sent to the attacker's intended target (10.255.255.255). This request would cause a deluge of packets to be sent out to every IP address in the range, with the responses all being routed back to 10.0.0.10. Congestion on the network can be caused by repeatedly performing this procedure, which can be automated to increase the rate at which it is performed.
The only way to prevent your devices from being compromised in this way is to disable IP-directed broadcasts on your router. Therefore, an ICMP echo broadcast request will not reach any devices in the network. Recipient systems may be configured to ignore ICMP packets sent to them from broadcast addresses.
Ping of death attack
Pinging the target system with IP packets larger than the allowed maximum of 65,535 bytes is how this attack is carried out. The IP packet can't be sent intact to the server, as that would violate the site's policy. After receiving and reconstructing the packet, the target system may fail for any number of reasons, including a buffer overflow.
By making sure IP packets aren't bigger than allowed, firewalls can stop "ping of death" attacks.
DDoS attacks are carried out by botnets, which are collections of infected computers used by hackers to launch simultaneous attacks. Attacks using these bots or zombie systems can easily overwhelm the bandwidth and processing power of their targets. Because botnets are dispersed across the world, it is exceedingly challenging to track down the origin of these DDoS assaults.
Reducing the impact of botnets entails:
- Spoofed-address-rejecting RFC3704 filtering, which aids in tracing traffic back to its original network. Packets originating from addresses on a "bogon list" are ignored by filtering methods like RFC3704.
- Dropping unwanted data packets before they enter a secure network, also known as "blackhole filtering." A BGP (Border Gateway Protocol) host should update ISP routers with routeing information during a DDoS attack so that all traffic destined for victim servers is redirected to a null0 interface at the next hop.
Man-in-the-middle (MitM) attack
When a hacker interposes themselves between a client and a server's communications, this is known as a man-in-the-middle (MitM) attack. Common examples of man-in-the-middle attacks include the following:
An attacker uses a Man in the Middle (MitM) attack to take control of a connection between a legitimate client and a server in the network. The attacking computer pretends to be the trusted client by using the client's IP address, and the server keeps talking to it. This is how an attack could proceed, for instance:
- It all starts with a client making contact with a server.
- Client computer is taken over by the attacker's machine.
- When an attacker's computer is involved, the client loses contact with the server.
- The client's IP address is swapped out for the attacker's and the client's sequence numbers are spoofed.
- Attacker's machine keeps talking to server as if it were still talking to client.
By pretending to be a trusted IP address, an attacker can gain access to a target system and impersonate a legitimate one. The attacker sends a packet to the target host using the IP source address of a trusted, well-known host. It's possible that the host system will recognise the package as legitimate and take some sort of action on it.
An attacker can launch a replay attack if they can capture and store previous communications, and then try to resend them at a later time while posing as another participant. Simple safeguards against this form include session timestamps and nonce values.
Unfortunately, there is currently no foolproof setup or piece of technology that can prevent all MitM attacks. Data confidentiality and authenticity during transmission are both protected by cryptography and digital certificates, which are a powerful defence against MitM attacks. However, a man-in-the-middle attack, where an adversary is purposefully placed in the middle of communications, renders encryption useless. To illustrate, suppose that malicious actor "A" successfully steals the key belonging to victim "Ppublic" and substitutes his own. If P's public key is used to encrypt a message and send it to P, P will unwittingly be using A's public key. For this reason, A can intercept a message destined for P, decrypt it using A's bogus public key, and then forwards it to P without P suspecting anything is amiss. A could also revise the statement and send it back to P. To rephrase, P is encrypting his data and is confident in its safety. Nonetheless, it wasn't due to an MITM attack.
The question then becomes how you can be sure that it is P and not A who possesses the public key. To solve this problem, we have certificate authorities and hash functions. To ensure that A does not discover the source of the information or alter the statement that it came from P2, P2 can use the following process:
- P2 creates a symmetric key using P's public key in order to decrypt P's messages.
- In order to send the symmetric key to P, P2 encrypts it.
- To create a digital signature, P2 first calculates a hash function of the message being signed.
- P2 encrypts his message and the hash of the signed letter using the symmetric key and sends it on to P.
- Since P is the only one who can decrypt P2, no one else can get the symmetric key from P2.
- Given that only P has access to the symmetric key, only he can decrypt the message and validate the signed hash.
- The message can be verified as authentic and unaltered by computing its hash and comparing it to a digitally signed copy.
- P can double-check that P2 really was the sender by verifying the hash with P2's public key, which only P2 can do.
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Spear-phishing and phishing attacks
Phishing attacks involve sending emails that appear to have come from a trusted source in an effort to gain sensitive information or influence user behaviour. A combination of psychological deception and technical wizardry. A malicious programme could be sent to a target by attaching itself to an email. It could be a download link for spyware or a site designed to steal your personal information.
A form of phishing known as "spear phishing" targets its victims very specifically. To better communicate with their targets, attackers put in research time to learn as much as they can about them. Spear phishing attacks are already difficult to spot, and this only makes things harder. Spoofing the "From" address of an email makes it look like it came from a known and trusted sender like a company executive or a reliable business associate. This is a common form of spear phishing. Website cloning is another tactic scammers use to make it look like they are dealing with a legitimate company and get you to reveal sensitive information or login credentials.
These methods can help you avoid falling victim to phishing attacks:
- Don't just accept something at face value because an email says so because you're too busy, too stressed, or have 150 unread messages waiting for you.
- Don't react hastily; instead, take a deep breath and carefully consider the email.
- Simply "hover" over the link to learn more about it without having to actually click on it. If you move your mouse over the link, you'll see the destination.
- Apply your reasoning skills to the problem of locating the URL.
- Taking a Look at Email Headers — Email "headers" contain information about the route an email took before arriving at its destination. Both the "Reply-to" and "Return-Path" fields must be set to the same domain for the email to function properly.
- An email's viability can be evaluated in a sandbox where interactions like downloading an attachment or visiting a link are tracked.
Drive-by download attacks are commonly used to spread malware. Hackers look for weak spots in HTTP and PHP code in order to inject malicious code into an unprotected website.
When a user interacts with this script, their computer may be infected with malware or they may be redirected to a page under the hackers' control.
Drive-by downloads can happen when a user interacts with a website, an email, or a pop-up window. A drive-by attack is a type of cyberattack in which the target does not need to take any special action in order to become infected, unlike many other types of cyberattacks.
Drive-by downloads can use unpatched vulnerabilities in software, operating systems, or web browsers to infiltrate a system and cause damage.
In order to protect yourself from drive-by attacks, you should keep your computer in good working order and use the most recent versions of your software (especially your browser and operating system). You should keep using the same sites you always have, but you should assume that any site can be hacked. Don't hoard your device with a bunch of useless programmes. When there are more plug-ins available, there are more ways for attackers to gain access and launch drive-by attacks.
To gain unauthorised access to a system, hackers frequently target users by stealing their passwords because they are the most widely used form of user authentication.
In order to figure out a user's password, one can either pry into their workspace, "sniff" their network connection for non secure passwords, use social engineering, break into a password database, or simply guess. The last tactic can be carried out at will or according to a predetermined plan:
- Password guessing using brute force entails repeatedly trying different combinations of characters in the hopes that one of them will unlock the system. It's a safe bet to begin with a password based on some aspect of the user's identity, such as their name, profession, or hobbies.
- A dictionary attack, so called because the attacker employs a list of commonly used passwords, can be used to gain access to a user's computer or network. As an example, you could make a copy of the encrypted file containing the passwords, encrypt a dictionary of commonly used passwords using the same algorithm, and then compare the two sets of passwords to see if any match.
To prevent attacks from occuring, such as dictionary or brute-force attacks, accounts may be locked by policy after a predetermined number of failed password attempts. By following these steps, you can successfully lock out your account.
SQL injection attack
The risk of SQL injection on database-driven websites is growing. This occurs when an attacker uses information stolen from a client to send a SQL query to the server. Inserting SQL commands into the data plane allows for the execution of predefined SQL commands.
In addition to reading private information from the database, inserting new data, updating existing data, and shutting down the database, a SQL injection can recover file contents and even issue commands to the operating system.
Cross-site scripting (XSS) attack
One possible scenario involves the victim's cookie being sent to the attacker's server. The consequences of using XSS to attack other security holes are severe. This vulnerability allows an attacker to remotely access the victim's machine and perform actions such as stealing cookies, logging keystrokes, taking screenshots, discovering and collecting network information, and more.
To prevent XSS attacks, developers should sanitise user input before using it to construct an HTTP request. Make sure the data has been properly validated, filtered, and/or escaped before returning it to the user, whether it be search results or the values of any query parameters. Change all instances of special characters like?, &, /,, >, and spaces that are encoded in HTML or URLs. Client-side scripting should be enabled/disabled on a per-user basis.
Eavesdropping attacks can be launched by intercepting network traffic. An eavesdropper poses a threat to network security because he or she may intercept sensitive data, such as a user's passwords, credit card numbers, and other personal information, as it is transmitted over the network. You can choose to either eavesdrop or join ongoing discussions.
- A hacker can passively eavesdrop on a conversation by listening in on a network's message traffic.
- Active eavesdropping entails the hacker actively stealing data by posing as a friendly unit and querying transmitters to obtain the information. To do this is known as to probe, scan, or tamper with something.
Since active attacks require the attacker to first conduct passive eavesdropping in order to learn which units to target, it is often more important to identify passive eavesdropping attacks than active ones.
A birthday attack can compromise the integrity of a hash algorithm, which is used to verify the integrity of a message, code, or digital signature. An input message of arbitrary length is hashed down to a shorter, unique output message called a message digest (MD), the length of which is predetermined. As in a birthday party, it's possible for two completely unrelated messages to be hashed to the same MD. If an attacker calculates the same message digest (MD) as the user, and the receiver is unable to tell the difference between the two, then the attacker has successfully replaced the message.
Malicious software is defined as any piece of software that is installed on a computer without the user's consent. The malware can replicate itself and spread online by attaching itself to legitimate code or hiding in legitimate programmes. Here are just a few examples of the most typical forms of malware:
- Macrospyware viruses can infect both spreadsheet and word processing software. The infection process for macro viruses involves inserting malicious code into the program's initialisation routine. When the infected programme is run, the virus seizes control of the computer and runs its malicious code.
- The virus replicates and infects new programmes, which it then uses to continue its spread.
- File infectors, which alter the host file so that the virus can be executed, are a common type of computer virus. The virus is activated when the programme is run. Infectors that create a virus file with the same name but a.exe extension are another type of file infector. This means the malicious code will run every time the infected file is opened.
- System or boot record assaults — The master boot record on a hard drive can become infected with a virus known as a boot-record parasite.
- Upon system startup, the virus will seek out the boot sector and, if it locates it, will load itself into memory before spreading to other devices and media.
- Polymorphic viruses engage in an iterative process of encryption and decryption to elude detection. First, a decryption programme deciphers the encrypted code for the virus and the mutation engine it uses. The code in the programme is then infected by the virus. The mutation engine then generates a brand-new method of decryption. Both the original mutation engine and a copy are encoded in the virus, each using a decryption algorithm that is compatible with the modernised decryption method. Repeatedly, new code is appended to the encrypted package of mutation engine and virus.
- Due to the high rate of code mutations, viruses of this type are difficult to detect but have a high entropy. Antivirus software and other tools, even free ones like Process Hacker, can use this feature to identify these threats.
- In order to hide its malicious nature, stealth viruses hijack critical system services. That's because they've found a way to trick anti-malware programmes into thinking an infected area is safe to explore again. These viruses conceal information about infected files, including their sizes and last modification dates.
- Malicious software often infiltrates a system by pretending to be a legitimate piece of software. The term "Trojan horse" describes this type of malicious software. Trojans are very different from viruses in that they can't replicate without human intervention. It's possible for a Trojan to not only launch an attack, but also leave a backdoor for additional malware to use in the future. The Trojan can be programmed to open a specific high-numbered port, giving the hacker access to the system for monitoring and potentially attacking.
- Logic bombs are malicious software that are inserted into an application and go off at a later time or under specific conditions.
- In contrast to viruses, which infect an already existing file, worms are independent programmes that replicate by infecting other computers and networks.
- Spreading worms via email attachments is common because doing so activates the worm programme. Once a computer has been infected by a worm, it will typically email a copy of itself to every contact it has. A worm that travels throughout the web and overloads email servers can cause a denial-of-service attack on the network nodes it reaches.
- Droppers, malicious programmes designed to spread viruses, are commonly used to infect computers. Due to the dropper's lack of malicious code, antivirus programmes may miss it. Furthermore, a dropper may use the internet to obtain and instal virus software updates on a compromised system.
- Ransomware is malicious software that encrypts a user's data and then asks for payment in exchange for the decryption key or threats to withhold the data's release or deletion unless the ransom is paid. Computer ransomware comes in a wide variety of sophistication levels; some only lock the system in a way that an expert can unlock it, while others use a technique called cryptoviral extortion, which encrypts the victim's files so thoroughly that they are nearly impossible to recover without the decryption key.
Sources of Cyber Threats
When trying to identify a cyber threat, knowledge of the adversary and their TTP is essential. Despite the fact that threat actors' TTP are constantly changing to remain undetected, the sources of cyber threats have not shifted. Because of how humans are wired, there will always be an easy mark for a con artist. And there's always a good explanation for it. Cybercrime has its origins here. Mastering an attacker's TTPs (tactics, techniques, and procedures) can help you understand a cyber threat and mitigate it before it spreads. The MITRE ATT&CK framework is a database of threat actor tactics, techniques, and procedures (TTP) based on observations from the field of cybersecurity. Over 90% of TTP is covered, on average, by Secureworks Taegis XDR across all MITRE framework categories.
Protecting Against the Top Cyber Threats
Business network security has become more challenging as remote access has increased. Security teams now have to worry about the safety of telecommuters instead of the traditional on-site workforce.
These systems are more susceptible to intrusion because they are linked directly to private networks and the Internet. Therefore, endpoint security on computers and mobile devices alike is a higher priority for business cybersecurity than it already was.
Given the diversity of cybersecurity threats, businesses need an endpoint detection and response solution that can identify and mitigate the most dangerous cyberattacks on every device used by their employees. Look at these buyer's guides for endpoint protection and mobile device security to find out what characteristics your endpoint security platform should have.
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Any nefarious attempt to access, alter, or steal data from a computer is considered a cyber attack. This could be done for nefarious reasons such as theft, extortion, disruption, etc. As a result, businesses must understand the cyber risks faced by their remote employees and equip them with appropriate endpoint security measures. As an additional tactic, they could use IP spoofing to send ICMP echo requests to all broadcast IP addresses. Disabling SMBv2 and closing ports 139 and 445 will protect against a denial-of-service assault.
Attacks on the Distributed Denial of Service variety are typically orchestrated by botnets, which are networks of infected computers working together. The bandwidth and computing resources of their victims are easily overwhelmed by botnets. To lessen the damage caused by botnets, one must:. RFC3704 filtering that does not allow spoofed addresses. If an adversary is able to position themselves in the middle of a communication channel, known as a "man-in-the-middle" attack, encryption becomes useless.
Data transmission security is ensured by cryptography and digital certificates, keeping information private and authentic. There is, alas, no current infrastructure or technology that can fully safeguard against MitM attacks. Phishing attacks utilise both psychological manipulation and complex computer programming. It is possible to send a malicious programme to a target by attaching it to an email. An email's "From" address can be spoofed to make it appear to have come from a known sender.
Spear phishing like this is quite common. The user's interaction with a website, email, or pop-up window can trigger a drive-by download. Password theft is the most common form of user attack because passwords are so widely used. Maintaining a functional computer and updating your software are both important safety measures. More and more websites are vulnerable to SQL injection attacks, especially those that rely on databases.
This happens when an attacker sends a query to the server using information stolen from a client. XSS attacks are those that use third-party resources to inject malicious code into a user's browser. Any conversation taking place over a network is vulnerable to eavesdropping. In active eavesdropping, the hacker poses as a friendly unit and actively steals data by querying transmitters. When an attacker engages in passive eavesdropping, they are not actively probing, scanning, or otherwise attempting to compromise the target.
Macrospyware viruses are capable of infecting both spreadsheet and word processing programmes. There are also file infectors that copy a target file but append a.exe extension, which is used by the virus it generates. In order to infect a host, polymorphic viruses must repeatedly encrypt and decrypt their genetic information.
- The endpoint is the primary focus of cybercriminals and the first line of defence for any organisation in the world of remote work.
- TCP SYN flood attacks can be defended against in several ways.
- Use a firewall that rejects SYN packets to ensure the safety of your servers.
- The attacker sends ICMP echo requests to all broadcast IP addresses.
- The only way to prevent your devices from being compromised in this way is to disable IP-directed broadcasts on your router.
- Man-in-the-middle (MitM) attackWhen a hacker interposes themselves between a client and a server's communications, this is known as a man-in-the-middle (MitM) attack.
- Data confidentiality and authenticity during transmission are both protected by cryptography and digital certificates, which are a powerful defence against MitM attacks.
- However, a man-in-the-middle attack, where an adversary is purposefully placed in the middle of communications, renders encryption useless.
- If P's public key is used to encrypt a message and send it to P, P will unwittingly be using A's public key.
- This is a common form of spear phishing.
- In order to protect yourself from drive-by attacks, you should keep your computer in good working order and use the most recent versions of your software (especially your browser and operating system).
- To prevent attacks from occuring, such as dictionary or brute-force attacks, accounts may be locked by policy after a predetermined number of failed password attempts.
- By following these steps, you can successfully lock out your account.
- The risk of SQL injection on database-driven websites is growing.
- XSS attacks frequently make use of external web resources in order to execute malicious code in a user's browser or other scriptable application.
- A hacker can passively eavesdrop on a conversation by listening in on a network's message traffic.
- Since active attacks require the attacker to first conduct passive eavesdropping in order to learn which units to target, it is often more important to identify passive eavesdropping attacks than active ones.
- Macrospyware viruses can infect both spreadsheet and word processing software.
- In order to hide its malicious nature, stealth viruses hijack critical system services.
FAQs About Cyber Attacks
Cyber attacks aim to disable, disrupt, destroy or control computer systems or to alter, block, delete, manipulate or steal the data held within these systems. Any individual or group can launch a cyber attack from anywhere using various attack strategies.
Cyberattacks are malicious attempts to access or damage a computer or network system. Cyberattacks can lead to the loss of money or the theft of personal, financial and medical information. These attacks can damage your reputation and safety.
- Man-in-the-middle attack (MITM)
- Distributed Denial-of-Service (DDoS) attack.
- SQL injection.
- Zero-day exploit.
- DNS Tunnelling.
- Business Email Compromise (BEC)
Cyber attacks are much more likely to occur through mundane errors like a user choosing an easy-to-guess password or not changing the default password on something like a router. 'Phishing' is also a common way to access a system. This involves extracting personal information under false pretences.
Files have been deleted, or contents have changed without your involvement. You find that passwords have unexpectedly changed. Unknown software appears or suddenly begins installing. The computer connects to the internet frequently when you are not using it.