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Types of Cyber Attacks You Should Be Aware of in 2023

Life today has become far more comfortable because of various digital devices and the internet to support them. There is a flip side to everything good, and that also applies to the digital world today. The internet has brought in a positive change in our lives today, but with that, there is also an enormous challenge in protecting your data. This gives rise to cyber attacks. In this article, we will discuss the different types of Cyber Attack and how they can be prevented.

What is a Cyber Attack?

Before heading to the different types of cyber attacks, we will first walk you through a cyber attack. When there is an unauthorized system/network access by a third party, we term it as a cyber attack. The person who carries out a cyberattack is termed as a Hacker / Attacker

Cyber-attacks have several negative effects. When an attack is carried out, it can lead to data breaches, resulting in data loss or data manipulation. Organizations incur financial losses, customer trust gets hampered, and there is reputational damage. To put a curb on cyberattacks, we implement Cybersecurity.
Sentinel is the method of safeguarding networks, computer systems, and their components from unauthorized digital access.

The COVID-19 situation has also had an adverse impact on cybersecurity. According to Interpol and WHO, there has been a notable increase in the number of cyberattacks during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Now that you know what a cyber attack is, let look at the different types of cyberattacks.

How Often Do Cyber Attacks Occur?

Cyber attacks are becoming increasingly common in our modern digital world. They can cause severe damage to individuals, businesses, and governments. People launch cyber attacks for several reasons, including financial gain, espionage, activism, and sabotage. In addition, hackers may launch attacks simply for the challenge or to prove their skills.

Why Do People Launch Cyber Attacks?

There are many reasons why people launch cyber attacks, including financial gain, espionage, activism, and sabotage. In some cases, cyber-attacks may be politically motivated to cause damage to their opponents.

What Happens During a Cyber Attack?

During a cyber attack, the attacker gains unauthorized access to a computer system, network, or device for stealing, modifying, or destroying data. The attacker may use a variety of tactics, including malware, social engineering, or exploiting vulnerabilities in software or systems.

How Do Cyber Attacks Happen?

Cyber attacks can happen in various methods. For instance, a hacker can use phishing methods to trick a user into clicking a malicious link or entering their login credentials into a fake website. Alternatively, a hacker may cause damage to the vulnerability in the software to access other devices to steal sensitive information.

What is a Botnet?

A network for compromised devices is called a botnet or “bots,”  which is controlled by a single attacker or in a group.
These bots can attack the systems of smartphones and other devices connected to the internet.

  1. Web-based attack: Performed using a network of bots to launch website attacks, like DDoS attacks to flood a website with traffic, and web scraping, where the attacker can steal essential data from websites using bots.
  2. System-based attack: Attackers use botnets to infect and control the systems of other devices and spread malware, like ransomware or spyware, and steal sensitive data.

Types of Cyber Attacks

There are many varieties of cyber attacks that happen in the world today. If we know the various types of cyberattacks, it becomes easier for us to protect our networks and systems against them. Here, we will closely examine the cyber-attacks that can affect an individual, or a large business, depending on the scale.

Let’s start with the different types of cyberattacks on our list:

1. Malware Attack

This is one of the most common types of cyberattacks. “Malware” refers to malicious software viruses including worms, spyware, ransomware, adware, and trojans.

The trojan virus disguises itself as legitimate software. Ransomware blocks access to the network’s key components, whereas Spyware is software that steals all your confidential data without your knowledge. Adware is software that displays advertising content such as banners on a user’s screen.

Malware breaches a network through a vulnerability. When the user clicks a dangerous link, it downloads an email attachment or when an infected pen drive is used.

Let’s now look at how we can prevent a malware attack:

  • Use antivirus software. It can protect your computer against malware.
  • Use firewalls. Firewalls filter the traffic that may enter your device. Sentinel have their firewalls, named Sentinel-ISG.
  • Stay alert and avoid clicking on suspicious links.
  • Update your OS and browsers, regularly.

2. Phishing Attack

Phishing attacks are one of the most prominent widespread types of cyberattacks. It is a type of social engineering attack wherein an attacker impersonates to be a trusted contact and sends the victim fake mails.
Unaware of this, the victim opens the mail and clicks on the malicious link or opens the mail’s attachment. By doing so, attackers gain access to confidential information and account credentials. They can also install malware through a phishing attack.

Phishing attacks can be prevented by following the below-mentioned steps:

  • Scrutinize the emails you receive. Most phishing emails have significant errors like spelling mistakes and format changes from that of legitimate sources.
  • Make use of an Sentinel anti-phishing toolbar.
  • Update your passwords regularly.

3. Password Attack

It is a form of attack wherein a hacker cracks your password with various programs and password cracking tools like Aircrack, Cain, Abel, John the Ripper, Hashcat, etc. There are different types of password attacks like brute force attacks, dictionary attacks, and keylogger attacks.

Listed below are a few ways to prevent password attacks:

  • Use strong alphanumeric passwords with special characters.
  • Abstain from using the same password for multiple websites or accounts.
  • Update your passwords; this will limit your exposure to a password attack.
  • Do not have any password hints in the open.

4. Man-in-the-Middle Attack

A Man-in-the-Middle Attack (MITM) is also known as an eavesdropping attack. In this attack, an attacker comes in between a two-party communication, i.e., the attacker hijacks the session between a client and host. By doing so, hackers steal and manipulate data.

As seen below, the client-server communication has been cut off, and instead, the communication line goes through the hacker.

MITM attacks can be prevented by following the below-mentioned steps:

  • Be mindful of the security of the website you are using. Use encryption on your devices.
  • Refrain from using public Wi-Fi networks.

5. SQL Injection Attack

A Structured Query Language (SQL) injection attack occurs on a database-driven website when the hacker manipulates a standard SQL query. It is carried by injecting a malicious code into a vulnerable website search box, thereby making the server reveal crucial information.

This results in the attacker being able to view, edit, and delete tables in the databases. Attackers can also get administrative rights through this.

To prevent a SQL injection attack:

  • Use an Intrusion detection system, as they design it to detect unauthorized access to a network.
  • Carry out a validation of the user-supplied data. With a validation process, it keeps the user input in check.

6. Denial-of-Service Attack

A Denial-of-Service Attack is a significant threat to companies. Here, attackers target systems, servers, or networks and flood them with traffic to exhaust their resources and bandwidth.

When this happens, catering to the incoming requests becomes overwhelming for the servers, resulting in the website it hosts either shut down or slow down. This leaves the legitimate service requests unattended.

It is also known as a DDoS (Distributed Denial-of-Service) attack when attackers use multiple compromised systems to launch this attack.

Let’s now look at how to prevent a DDoS attack:

  • Run a traffic analysis to identify malicious traffic.
  • Understand the warning signs like network slowdown, intermittent website shutdowns, etc. At such times, the organization must take the necessary steps without delay.
  • Formulate an incident response plan, have a checklist and make sure your team and data center can handle a DDoS attack.
  • Outsource DDoS prevention to cloud-based service providers.

7. Insider Threat

As the name suggests, an insider threat does not involve a third party but an insider. In such a case; it could be an individual from within the organization who knows everything about the organization. Insider threats have the potential to cause tremendous damages.

Insider threats are rampant in small businesses, as the staff there hold access to multiple accounts with data. Reasons for this form of an attack are many, it can be greed, malice, or even carelessness. Insider threats are hard to predict and hence tricky.

To prevent the insider threat attack:

  • Organizations should have a good culture of security awareness.
  • Companies must limit the IT resources staff can have access to depending on their job roles.
  • Organizations must train employees to spot insider threats. This will help employees understand when a hacker has manipulated or is attempting to misuse the organization’s data.

8. Cryptojacking

The term Cryptojacking is closely related to cryptocurrency. Cryptojacking takes place when attackers access someone else’s computer for mining cryptocurrency.

The access is gained by infecting a website or manipulating the victim to click on a malicious link. They also use online ads with JavaScript code for this. Victims are unaware of this as the Crypto mining code works in the background; a delay in the execution is the only sign they might witness.

Cryptojacking can be prevented by following the below-mentioned steps:

  • Update your software and all the security apps as cryptojacking can infect the most unprotected systems.
  • Have cryptojacking awareness training for the employees; this will help them detect crypotjacking threats.
  • Install an ad blocker as ads are a primary source of cryptojacking scripts. Also have extensions like MinerBlock, which is used to identify and block crypto mining scripts.

9. Zero-Day Exploit

A Zero-Day Exploit happens after the announcement of a network vulnerability; there is no solution for the vulnerability in most cases. Hence the vendor notifies the vulnerability so that the users are aware; however, this news also reaches the attackers.

Depending on the vulnerability, the vendor or the developer could take any amount of time to fix the issue. Meanwhile, the attackers target the disclosed vulnerability. They make sure to exploit the vulnerability even before a patch or solution is implemented for it.

Zero-day exploits can be prevented by:

  • Organizations should have well-communicated patch management processes. Use management solutions to automate the procedures. Thus it avoids delays in deployment.
  • Have an incident response plan to help you deal with a cyberattack. Keep a strategy focussing on zero-day attacks. By doing so, the damage can be reduced or completely avoided.

10. Watering Hole Attack

The victim here is a particular group of an organization, region, etc. In such an attack, the attacker targets websites which are frequently used by the targeted group. Websites are identified either by closely monitoring the group or by guessing.

After this, the attackers infect these websites with malware, which infects the victims’ systems. The malware in such an attack targets the user’s personal information. Here, it is also possible for the hacker to take remote access to the infected computer.

Let’s now see how we can prevent the watering hole attack:

  • Update your software and reduce the risk of an attacker exploiting vulnerabilities. Make sure to check for security patches regularly.
  • Use your network security tools to spot watering hole attacks. Sentinel Intrusion prevention systems(Sentinel-ISG) work well when it comes to detecting such suspicious activities.
  • To prevent a watering hole attack, it is advised to conceal your online activities. For this, use a VPN and also make use of your browser’s private browsing feature. A VPN delivers a secure connection to another network over the Internet. It acts as a shield for your browsing activity. Sentinel-VPN is a good example of a VPN.

11. Spoofing

An attacker impersonates someone or something else to access sensitive information and do malicious activities. For example, they can spoof an email address or a network address.

12. Identity-Based Attacks

Perform to steal or manipulate others’ personal information, like login someone’s PINs to steal unauthorized access to their systems.

13. Code Injection Attacks

Performed by inserting malicious code into a software application to manipulate data. For example, the attacker puts malicious code into a SQL database to steal data.

14. Supply Chain Attacks

Exploit software or hardware supply chain vulnerabilities to collect sensitive information.

15. DNS Tunneling

Attacker uses the Domain Name System (DNS) to bypass security measures and communicate with a remote server.

16. DNS Spoofing

Cyberattack in which an attacker manipulates the DNS records from a website to control its traffic.

17. IoT-Based Attacks

Exploit vulnerabilities in the Internet of Things (IoT), like smart thermostats and security cameras, to steal data.

18. Ransomware

Encrypt the victim’s data and demands payment in exchange.

19. Distributed Denial of Service (DDos) Attacks

Flood a website with traffic to make it unavailable to legitimate users and to exploit vulnerabilities in the specific network.

20. Spamming

Send unauthentic emails to spread phishing scams.

21. Corporate Account Takeover (CATO)

Hackers use stolen login credentials to access others’ bank accounts.

22. Automated Teller Machine (ATM) Cash Out

Hackers get close to a bank’s computer systems to withdraw large amounts of cash from ATMs.

23. Whale-Phishing Attacks

Target high-profile individuals like executives or celebrities using sophisticated social engineering techniques to get sensitive information.

24. Spear-Phishing Attacks:

Target specific individuals or groups under an organization. Attackers use social engineering techniques to get sensitive information.

25. URL Interpretation

A web browser interprets a URL (Uniform Resource Locator) and requests the corresponding web page to exploit vulnerabilities in the URL interpretation.

26. Session Hijacking

The hacker gets access to a user’s session ID to authenticate the user’s session with a web application and take control of the user’s session.

27. Brute Force Attack

An attacker gets unauthorized access to a system by trying various passwords until the correct one is found. It can be highly effective against weak passwords.

28. Web Attacks

Targets websites and can insert SQL injection, cross-site scripting (XSS) and file inclusion.

29. Trojan Horses

Malware that appears to be a legitimate program but which contains malicious code. Once installed, it can perform malicious actions like stealing data and controlling the system.

30. Drive-by Attacks

The user’s system is flooded with malware by visiting its compromised website to exploit vulnerabilities in other software to insert the malware without the user’s knowledge.

31. Cross-Site Scripting (XSS) Attacks

An attacker inserts unauthorized code into a legitimate website to access the user’s information to steal sensitive information like the user’s passwords and credit card details.

32. Eavesdropping Attacks

An attacker intercepts communication between two parties to access sensitive information.

33. Birthday Attack

A cryptographic attack exploits the birthday paradox to access a collision in a hash function. The attacker successfully generates two inputs to get the same output hash value. This can be used to compromise to bypass access controls.

34. Volume-Based Attacks

The attacker floods a system with heavy data to make it inaccessible to legitimate users.  For instance, DDoS attacks in which various compromised computers flood a specific website with traffic to crash it.

35. Protocol Attacks:

Exploits vulnerabilities in network protocols to gain unauthorized access to a system or disrupt its regular operation. Examples include the Transmission Control Protocol (TCP) SYN Flood attack and the Internet Control Message Protocol (ICMP) Flood attack.

36. Application Layer Attacks

Targets the application layer of a system, aiming to exploit vulnerabilities in applications or web servers.

37. Dictionary Attacks

An attacker attempts to guess a user’s password by trying a list of common words. This attack becomes successful because many users use weak or easy passwords.

38. Virus

Malicious software can replicate itself and spread to other computers. Viruses can cause significant damage to systems, corrupt files, steal information, and more.

39. Worm

Replicates itself and spreads to other computers, but unlike viruses, worms don’t require human interaction.

40. Backdoors

This vulnerability allows attackers to bypass standard authentication procedures and gain unauthorized access to a system or network.

41. Bots

These software programs automate network or internet tasks. They can be used for malicious purposes, such as Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks.

42. Business Email Compromise (BEC)

Targets businesses and organizations by using email. The attackers impersonate a trusted source to trick the victim into transferring funds or sensitive information to the attacker.

43. Cross-Site Scripting (XSS) Attacks

Targets web applications by injecting malicious code into a vulnerable website to steal sensitive information or to perform unauthorized attacks.

44. AI-Powered Attacks

Use artificial intelligence and machine learning to bypass traditional security measures.

45. Rootkits

Provide attackers privileged access to a victim’s computer system. Rootkits can be used to hide other types of malware, such as spyware or keyloggers, and can be challenging to detect and remove.

46. Spyware

Is malware designed to collect sensitive information from a victim’s computer system. This can include passwords, credit card numbers, and other sensitive data.

47. Social Engineering

is a technique cyber criminals use to manipulate users to make them divulge sensitive information or perform actions that are not in their best interest.

48. Keylogger

Is a malware designed to capture keystrokes a victim enters on their computer system. This can include passwords, credit card numbers, and other sensitive data.

49. Botnets

Are networks of compromised computers controlled by a single attacker. Botnets can launch distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks, steal sensitive information, or perform other malicious activities.

50. Emotet

Is malware designed to steal sensitive information and spread it to other computers on a network. Emotet is often spread through phishing emails and can be very difficult to detect and remove.

51. Adware

Is malware that displays unwanted advertisements on a victim’s computer system. Adware can be annoying and disruptive, but it’s generally less harmful than other types of malware.

52. Fileless Malware

Doesn’t rely on files to infect a victim’s computer system. Instead, fileless malware executes malicious code using existing system resources, such as memory or registry keys.

53. Angler Phishing Attacks

Target individuals or organizations using highly targeted and personalized emails. Angler phishing attacks can be difficult to detect and are often successful in stealing sensitive information.

54. Advanced Persistent Threat (APT)

Is a cyberattack characterized by long-term, persistent access to a victim’s computer system. APT attacks are highly sophisticated and difficult to detect and remove.

Examples of a Cyber Attack:

  • Phishing: This is the practice of sending fake emails or messages that appear to be from a legitimate source.
  • Malware: Malware can harm computer systems, such as viruses and Trojans.
  • DDoS Attacks: This is a distributed denial of service attack by flooding a website with
  • Man-in-the-middle attacks: This hack intercepts communications to steal sensitive information.
  • Password Attacks: This hack can crack a password to manipulate the system.

Those were the types of cyberattacks. Now, let us walk you through the next section of our article on types of cyberattacks.

How to Prevent Cyber Attacks?

Although we had a look at several ways to prevent the different types of cyberattacks we discussed, let’s summarize and look at a few personal tips which you can adopt to avoid a cyberattack on the whole.

  1. Change your passwords regularly and use strong alphanumeric passwords which are difficult to crack. Refrain from using too complicated passwords that you would tend to forget. Do not use the same password twice.
  2. Update both your operating system and applications regularly. This is a primary prevention method for any cyber attack. This will remove vulnerabilities that hackers tend to exploit. Use trusted and legitimate Anti-virus protection software.
  3. Use a firewall and other network security tools such as Intrusion prevention systems, Access control, Application security, etc. like SENTINEL-ISG
  4. Avoid opening emails from unknown senders. Scrutinize the emails you receive for loopholes and significant errors.
  5. Make use of a Sentinel-VPN. This makes sure that it encrypts the traffic between the VPN server and your device.
  6. Regularly back up your data. According to many security professionals, it is ideal to have three copies of your data on two different media types and another copy in an off-site location (cloud storage). Hence, even in the course of a cyber attack, you can erase your system’s data and restore it with a recently performed backup.
  7. Employees should be aware of cybersecurity principles. They must know the various types of cyberattacks and ways to tackle them.
  8. Use Two-Factor or Multi-Factor Authentication. With two-factor authentication, it requires users to provide two different authentication factors to verify themselves. When you are asked for over two additional authentication methods apart from your username and password, we term it as multi-factor authentication. This proves to be a vital step to secure your account.
  9. Secure your Wi-Fi networks and avoid using public Wi-Fi without using a VPN.
  10. Safeguard your mobile, as mobiles are also a cyberattack target. Install apps from only legitimate and trusted sources, make sure to keep your device updated.

These are the tips you must implement to protect your systems and networks from a cyber attack.

Evolution of Cyber Security

The evolution of cyber security can be traced back to the early days of computing when security measures were minimal, and the internet was a relatively small network. In the early 90s, firewalls were the common method of protecting networks and data from cyber-attacks. Now, this field of cyber security has a wide range of technologies:

  • Intrusion detection systems like a features in Sentinel-ISG
  • Threat intelligence like a features in Sentinel-THP
  • Security information and event management (SIEM) like a features in Sentinel-LogManagement


In this article on the types of cyberattacks, you have understood all about cyber attacks. You looked at what a cyber attack is, the top ten types of cybe rattacks, and the ways to prevent a cyber attack. With the increasing number of cyber crimes today, it is good to be aware of cyber attacks and how one can protect their network. If you would like to understand more about this topic, join with us on Sentinel Cyber Security

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