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7 Common Types of Cyber Attacks and How to Prevent Them

2021-11-29

7 Common Types of Cyber Attacks

Cybercrime has become one of the foremost concerns of business owners and managers around the world. Cybercrime has seen an average growth rate of 15% year on year, and we're now at a point where it's unlikely that you don't get targeted by some sort of cyber security incident. Combined with the fact that businesses are starting to adopt cloud solutions at an equally fast rate and more business data is vulnerable to these kinds of attacks, it's vital to polish up your knowledge on cyber security.


Here, we've listed out 7 of the most common types of cyber attacks, as well as how you can prevent these cyber attacks. This is by no means an exhaustive list, and there are many other different types of cyber attacks that can cause damage to your operations. However, by starting with the basics you will be in a much better position moving forward. Read on to learn more.


#1 DDoS

DDoS, or Distributed Denial of Service, attacks are when hackers overload a server with malicious traffic to the extent that it can no longer run properly. The result is either the server shutting down or running at a speed that real users can no longer properly use the server due to slow or unreliable connections. There are many different types of DDoS attacks such as UDP, ICMP, SYN, HTTP floods and more - but all follow the same key principle of using scripts or bots to send abnormally huge amounts of inorganic traffic to the server.


How to prevent this type of cyber attack

One of the best ways to prevent a DDoS attack from happening and suffering from operation downtime is to have an incident response plan set in place. DDoS attacks are difficult to prevent entirely, but they can be effectively controlled by software that can detect and block malicious traffic so that your real users are unaffected.


#2 Malware

Malware attacks are when a piece of software or programming is installed on your computer, causing it to behave in alarming or unusual ways. Typically, malware is done with the intention of stealing critical business data or holding it hostage (ransomware) to extort a fee out of the business. Both are nightmares to deal with and can be enough to send businesses filing for bankruptcy.


How to prevent this type of cyber attack

Most malware can be prevented with cyber security or anti-virus software, such as Sangfor's NGAF Firewall Platform and SASE solutions. The purpose of anti-virus software is to regularly scan your computer for malicious programs before eliminating them and keeping you safe. It's important to use an up-to-date anti-virus software as new malware is released each and every day by cyber criminals. Updated versions are able to nullify these new strains, and the best can even leverage AI technology for a more targeted and intelligent approach. 


#3 SQL injection attacks

SQL (structured query language) injections are where the attacker places malicious coding into the backend of a business’s network. Once there, the SQL code's purpose is to gain access to private data that should not be visible - think sensitive customer information and so on.


How to prevent this type of cyber attack

You can effectively prevent most SQL injection attacks by using parameterized queries instead of string concatenation. This is where placeholders are used for parameter values to prevent the attacks from inserting illegal characters into the code and modifying it to take advantage of weaknesses.


 #4 Phishing

We're probably all aware of what phishing is as it is one of the most common forms of cyber attacks. To put it in simple terms, phishing is when the cyber attacker sends fraudulent communications, pretending to be a legitimate sender. This is most often done through email but can also be done through other communication platforms. The message will contain malicious links or attachments that the user is tricked into downloading which, once done, can cause a number of issues such as stolen private data or malware attacks. 


How to prevent this type of cyber attack

Phishing is particularly dangerous as it most often preys on those who are less familiar with the cyber crime world and therefore not able to differentiate trustworthy sources from malicious ones. The best way to prevent phishing attacks as a business is to educate all your employees and those who access your business network on how to identify phishing communications. This often means being able to assess the legitimacy of a URL (not just the hyperlinked text, or anchor text).


#5 Cross-site scripting

Cross-site scripting (XSS) is similar in nature to SQL injecting, but instead targets the end users instead of the server. XSS attacks inject code into the targeted website that redirects users to other, malicious websites to steal their data.


How to prevent this type of cyber attack

The best way to prevent XSS attacks is to filter all the inputs that your network receives as they come in, and encrypt data as it goes out. Doing this will make it much more difficult for attackers, and they are much more likely to spend their time going after a more vulnerable website. Software like Sangfor's Endpoint Secure can be of great help in these situations.


 #6 Trojan software

Trojan software is a type of malicious software that pretends to be legitimate. In doing so, unsuspecting users may install or download trojan software and infect their device with a virus or malware.


How to prevent this type of cyber attack

Much like phishing attacks, the best way to prevent your business being targeted by trojan software is to educate all those using your network on how to differentiate trojan software and avoid downloading them in the first place.


#7 Zero-day exploits

Zero-day exploits are when cyber criminals take advantage of a particular weakness or vulnerability in a businesses cyber security systems. They might use this weakness to extract data and information.


How to prevent this type of cyber attack

Stopping these attacks from happening is difficult, as you or your IT staff might not even be aware of the vulnerability until an attack occurs. You can make a start preventing this kind of attack by constantly scanning your cyber security defenses and making use of "white-hat" hackers, or by implementing an incident response team to deal with such issues in real time to minimize and mitigate much of the damage.


Keep your business safe with Sangfor

Worried about being targeted by cyber security attacks? Prevention is always better than a cure. Keep your network and business safe with Sangfor's comprehensive solutions today.  

Get in touch with one of our specialists for a personalized quotation or for more information.