Home » What Is a Cyberattack

What Is a Cyberattack

by Online Tutorials Library

What Is a Cyberattack?

The act of attempting to steal data or obtain unauthorized access to computers and networks using one or more computers is referred to as a cyberattack. Before committing a data breach, an attacker would often launch a cyberattack to obtain unauthorized access to person or business computers or networks.

A cyberattack’s aim is to either disable and take offline the target device, or gain access to the computer’s data and penetrate linked networks and systems.

Cybercriminals conduct both random and targeted attacks on companies, demonstrating a wide range of complexity in cyberattacks. To launch a cyberattack, attackers use a variety of techniques, including denial of service, malware, phishing, and ransomware.

CMA CGM, one of the world’s largest container shipping firms, is a recent example. The company was hit by a cyberattack that started with its servers and ended with a data breach. The malware used to hack the firm’s peripheral servers resulted in CMA CGM shutting down access to its online services in September 2020.

Cyberattacks: How Often Do They Occur?

Cybercrime is now commonplace, wreaking havoc on individuals and companies of all sizes. According to a study report from Risk Based Security, there were approx. 4.1 billion records of cyberattacks that were reported in the first 6 months of 2019. The number of recorded breaches increased by 54%, while the number of documents exposed increased by 52%.

Types of Cyberattacks

In order to gain unauthorized access to a user’s computers, files, and networks and steal sensitive information, the cyber criminals employ a variety of methods and techniques. Below is a compilation and explanation of some of the most popular forms of cyberattacks.


A form of malicious software that is intended to harm computers, networks, and servers is known by the name Malware. Malware comes in many types, including Trojans, viruses, and worms, and all of them replicate and propagate through a device or network. This act allows the person who wants of hack the system and helps to gain deeper entry into the target network, allowing them to steal data, harm computers, disable networks, or take control of systems.


A phishing attack convinces a victim to download malware or provide personal information on spoofed websites. The attacker creates messages that look genuine and might appear to be from a trusted source, and then launches the cyberattack via email.

They can, however, contain malware in the form of an attachment or a malicious hyperlink that directs the user to a bogus website that requests their login credentials or banking information.

Some phishing attacks are broad in scope in order to capture as many people as possible, while others are highly targeted and meticulously studied in order to steal information from important individuals. Phishing is no longer limited to email, as attacks on mobile devices are becoming more common and in the new trend this type of attack is happening over the phone call.


A form of malware attack that is funded by money is known as ransomware. Attackers send emails with a malicious attachment that, once downloaded, encrypts personal data and files, as well as entire computers. The perpetrator will then demand a ransom payment from the victim, and only then will the data be released or restored.

In 2018, ransomware attacks caused $8 billion in damage, with just $1 billion of that coming from ransom payments and the remainder coming from reputational damage and lost sales due to downtime.

The DoS Attack

A denial-of-service (DoS) attack, also known as a brute-force attack, is used to prevent online services from functioning properly. It’s usually triggered by an intruder flooding a website with a large amount of traffic or requests in an effort to overwhelm the site’s infrastructure and bring it down.

A distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attack is a more sophisticated DoS attack in which an attacker takes control of multiple computers to overwhelm its target.

Man in the Middle (MITM)

MITM attacks enable a malicious attacker to place themselves in the middle of a user’s interaction with an online service. An attacker could do this by setting up a spoofed, free-to-use Wi-Fi network. When a user connects to or logs in to a network, the intruder has the ability to steal the user’s login credentials and data.

Crypto jacking

Crypto jacking is when a bad actor takes control of a machine, mobile device, or server to mine for online currency or cryptocurrency. The assault starts with the installation of malware on a device or the execution of JavaScript code to infiltrate the user’s browser.

Crypto jacking is a method of mining cryptocurrency that is intended to remain secret from the target when using their computing resources. The loss or reduction in computer output, as well as overactive cooling fans, are often the only signs of crypto jacking.

SQL Injection

SQL injection is a technique used by attackers to exploit bugs and gain control of a database. SQL is used by many websites and web apps to store data and exchange user data with databases. An intruder will use SQL injection to discover user credentials and launch a cyberattack if they find a flaw in a webpage.

They may be able to change and add data to databases, remove records, move money, and even target internal networks in some cases.

Zero-day Exploits

Zero-day attacks target software bugs that companies have yet to find and, as a result, have been unable to repair or patch. When an intruder discovers a code flaw, they create an exploit that allows them to gain access to a company before it knows there is a problem.

They can then gather data, steal user passwords, and increase their access privileges within an organization.

Attackers can also go months, if not years, without being detected inside business processes. On the dark web, zero-day vulnerability exploit techniques are widely accessible, and are often purchased by government agencies for use in hacking.

DNS Tunneling

DNS tunneling is a form of cyberattack that targets the Domain Name System (DNS), which is a protocol that converts web addresses into IP addresses. The DNS is commonly trusted, and since it isn’t used for data transfer, it isn’t often checked for malicious behavior. As a result, it’s a good place to conduct cyberattacks against corporate networks.

When an attacker gains access to a device, they are able to send DNS requests through their server, which creates a tunnel through which they can steal data and carry out other malicious activities.

What Motivates People to Launch Cyber-Attacks?

Cyberattacks are carried out for a variety of purposes, ranging from financial gain and business intelligence to cyberwar and political gain.

  1. Financial gain: People conduct cyberattacks for a variety of reasons, the most common of which is financial benefit. Cyberattacks are usually inexpensive to develop, install, and launch, but they reap enormous rewards. According to a Ponemon Institute and IBM survey, the total cost of a data breach is a whopping $3.86 million.
  2. Business intelligence: Some cyberattacks are more business-oriented, with attackers stealing user passwords, infiltrating business networks, and gaining access to confidential business data using techniques including phishing. More targeted attacks, such as whaling, which target senior executives and high-profile individuals, necessitate extensive research and preparation with the aim of stealing highly confidential data and possibly holding a company hostage.
  3. State-sponsored attacks: Cyberattacks are also carried out for political purposes, and many of them have been linked to nation-state hackers. The best examples of such attacks are – Russian cyberattack on the Ukrainian power grid and the Iranian state-sponsored cyberattack group APT33.
  4. Hacktivism: Other cyberattacks, also known as hacktivism, are used to increase political consciousness. Famous hacktivists like Anonymous and WikiLeaks launch attacks on governments and major organisations to raise awareness about various political problems, internet regulation and censorship, and government power.
  5. Personal reasons: Some cyberattacks are carried out by disgruntled or retired workers for personal gain. These people will steal classified information and sell it for profit or to harm a company that they believe has treated them unfairly.
  6. White-hat hackers: A hacker can also conduct a cyberattack for the sheer thrill of it-or the intellectual challenge of obtaining unauthorized network access. These attackers often have no malicious intent, but they can cause significant harm to business processes. Other so-called “white-hat” hackers do it for the right reasons, such as assisting companies in strengthening their security defenses.

What can be done to protect it?

There is no such tool or any organisation who can guarantee the full 100% protection from the cybersecurity attacks. As a matter of fact what one can do is to constantly update itself and its software’s.

Users must also follow cybersecurity best practices, such as using a secure password and using passwordless authentication, and employers must have daily training on the risks that employees face. Organizations should also think about implementing advanced cybersecurity strategies to defend them from both existing threats and fresh, emerging cyberattack risks.

You may also like