Most Common Types of Cybersecurity Attacks: An Overview

BY IT GLUE | November 10, 2021

If there is one thing constant in the IT world, it is the threat of ever-increasing cybersecurity attacks. Cybercriminals all over the world have always been relentless in trying to exploit any vulnerabilities they may come across in an IT network. These attacks are deliberate and malicious. In most cases, these attacks focus on stealing data from an individual or an organization for potential monetary gains.

To combat these attacks, cybersecurity professionals must do everything they can to beef up their defenses and build a resilient security posture. Building a resilient cybersecurity defense requires awareness about various common cybersecurity threats you are likely to face.

In this blog, we provide you with an overview of some of the most common cybersecurity threats that can affect your organization.

Learn more about cyberthreats from our free “Cyber Attacks Demystified for MSPs” infographic.


This refers to various malicious software programs designed to infiltrate, spy on, or create a backdoor and control an organization’s systems or data. Some of the common examples of malware include ransomware, worms, trojans, adware, spyware, etc. When unwitting users click a malicious link, malware gets downloaded into the user’s system.

Malware attacks, especially ransomware, have shot up significantly in recent years, and this is one of the biggest threats to cybersecurity in today’s scenario. A study by CBS12 estimates that ransomware attacks have gone up 800% in 2020.

Phishing attacks

This is a social engineering attack entailing fraudulent communications appearing to come from a trusted source. As of now, phishing is the leading cause of data breaches globally. Attempts to steal sensitive information or trick people into installing malware often come via email or text message (SMS).

Distributed Denial of Service attacks (DDoS)

Here, hackers disrupt the traffic to a website, application, server, service or network by overwhelming it with a flood of traffic from compromised computer networks (botnets) that prevents real users from accessing it. According to Kaspersky, DDoS attacks have increased 50% in 2020 compared to 2019.

Although the main focus here is to disrupt the target’s network rather than steal data, it can cause serious financial losses in terms of opportunities lost. Moreover, compromised traffic is often hard to distinguish from legitimate traffic. Hence, it could be tough to detect without the right defense measures.

Man-in-the-middle attacks

As the name implies, this attack involves hackers inserting themselves in a two-party transaction. Bad actors spy on or intercept communication between you and your users or employees. This is one of the ways to steal personal or company information or to redirect that information to another destination.

Although this is not the most common type of attack, it still occurs in some unassuming places. For instance, fake Wi-Fi networks can be deployed in public places like coffee shops. When people connect to these networks, hackers can spy on them while they use the network.

Credential-stuffing attacks

This is similar to a brute-force cyberattack. However, in this method, hackers use stolen usernames and passwords from one data breach to access user accounts at another organization. Since this has compromised usernames and passwords, these types of attacks are more targeted and successful than brute-force attacks.

Password-spraying attacks

This is a brute-force attack where bad actors attempt to guess a user’s password from a list of common passwords. It is worth noting that 80% of all data breaches involved a brute-force method like password spraying. Although the success rate is pretty low here, it can still unleash various damages if hackers manage to crack the easily guessable passwords of your users.

Mobile-device attacks

In this type of attack, mobile devices are infected through phishing text messages. When users click the link, it triggers the installation of spyware capable of monitoring people through their camera and microphone. Once infected, users’ login credentials are also stolen by hackers.

Since mobile devices are indispensable in today’s work environments, these attacks are becoming more common across the globe.

Zero-click attacks

This is an interactionless raid that eliminates the human factor and relies on software and/or hardware flaws to gain a foothold on a device. Here, hackers send a specially crafted chunk of data to a target device over a wireless connection such as Wi-Fi, NFC, Bluetooth, GSM or LTE. This triggers an unknown or scarcely documented vulnerability at the hardware or software level.

Demystifying cyberattacks

Cybercrime is at an all-time high right now and the number of organizations affected by cyberattacks is growing every year. In times like this, it is essential to gain an in-depth understanding of various attacks before you can take the required steps to mitigate them.

To know more about various cyberthreats and how to mitigate them, attend our “Cyberattacks Demystified for MSPs” webinar.

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