Types of Cyberattacks

  • Denial of Service (DoS) attacks are intended to disrupt services of a network or a website by overwhelming it with excessive traffic, thereby denying genuine users access to the services.
  • Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks are similar to DoS attacks but traffic is sourced from multiple different computers to make stopping the attack more difficult.
  • Malware attacks involve the use of malicious software — such as viruses, worms, trojans, ransomware, and spyware — to damage or disrupt a computer system.
  • Phishing attacks try to trick users into revealing sensitive information, like usernames, passwords, or credit card numbers by pretending to be a legitimate entity in an email or other communication.
  • In a man-in-the-middle attack, the attacker intercepts a communication between two users without their knowledge in order to eavesdrop or manipulate the conversation for malicious purposes.

Impacts of Cyberattacks

  • Cyberattacks can lead to data breaches, whereby confidential information is accessed and potentially stolen, leading to a loss of privacy for individuals or businesses.
  • These attacks can lead to financial loss, especially in the case of hacking bank accounts or online payment methods, or where ransomware demands a financial sum to unlock files.
  • They can cause operation disruptions, shutting down systems or blocking access to services — a major problem particularly for businesses or services.
  • They cause time-consuming and expensive recovery processes – restoration of systems and security often need significant IT expertise and investment.
  • Confidence and trust in a company or service can be significantly eroded following a cyberattack, as customers may fear for their data security.

Mitigation Techniques against Cyberattacks

  • Regular updating of software and hardware can curb cyberattacks; these updates often include patches for newly discovered security vulnerabilities.
  • Use of antivirus software helps detect and prevent malware attacks by scanning for and removing malicious programs.
  • Firewalls act as the first line of defence in network security, blocking unauthorised access while permitting outward communication.
  • Encouraging safe online behaviour like evaluating email sources before clicking on embedded links can reduce the risk of phishing. This is often referred to as maintaining cyber hygiene.
  • Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) and Transport Layer Security (TLS) protocol usage, which are cryptographic protocols designed to provide secure communication over a network.
  • Regular backup of data aids recovery in the event of a ransomware attack or data loss as a result of a cyberattack.