15 Types of Cyberattacks that Businesses Face

15 Types of Cyberattacks that Businesses Face

It is not an epidemic, natural disaster, or nuclear weapon that is sending tremors to economically powerful continents of the world, rather it is a ‘cyberattack’. Recollect Yahoo, Adobe, Sony, Target, Equifax, etc. who faced major cyberattacks by cybercriminals. Their incidents have created history in the world of cybersecurity.

In a recent study, a record-high of 10.52 billion malware attacks were identified in 2018 with 391,689 new attack variants. [1] Moreover, the average cost of data breaches is expected to exceed $150 million by 2020. [2] These statistics are not surprising to security experts as they firmly believe that cybercrime will become more lucrative than illegal drug trafficking. [3]

15 Types of Cyberattacks that Businesses Face

Common Cyberattacks that Businesses Face

1. Phishing

Did you know that over 1.4 million new phishing websites are created every month? [4] Phishing is one of the most common attacks that is amply conducted by cyber attackers. Fraudulent emails are the major source of phishing attack to the hackers who aim to steal personal data of individuals. Sensitive information like credit card numbers, bank account credentials, email signups, etc. are often stolen by the attackers via phishing. There are again various types of phishing attacks such as spear phishing, deceptive phishing, pharming, etc. which have been evolved over these years.

2. Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS)

When you receive overwhelming traffic on your website, it is probably because of a DDoS attack. DDoS attacks are initiated to overwhelm a network with high-volume of unwanted traffic. The huge traffic exhausts the bandwidth rendering them unable to respond to legitimate requests. Primarily, a network of botnets is used to execute a DDoS attack. The example of the biggest DDoS attack is GitHub which has overwhelmed the GitHub’s code hosting website that peaked 1. 35Tbps. Interestingly, the attackers did not use botnets and instead weaponized Memcached servers which can launch an attack more powerful than the simple DDoS attack. [4]

3. Ransomware

Ransomware is one of the most prevalent attacks among all sectors, from business to healthcare. Ransomware attacks on businesses have risen by 365% from the 2nd quarter of 2018 to the 2nd quarter of 2019, whereas consumer detection decreased by 12%. [3] It is a type of malware attack that blocks the victim from accessing their system. The victims are then demanded a ransom amount to regain access to their system or data; otherwise, they are threatened by losing the data permanently.

4. SQL Injection

SQL injection attacks occur when a malefactor injects a malicious query into an SQL database that forces the server to expose sensitive data from the database. The SQL query is executed into an input field on a webpage such as a login field through which an attacker cannot just peek into the database but also modify it. The attacker runs an administrative command to expose the data or wipe it out from the database.

5. Cross-Site Scripting (XSS)

It is a technical attack where the attacker identifies a web browser with injectable vulnerability, i.e., where malicious code can be injected to the webserver. It consequently sends the malicious injection to the victim’s web browser. When the script is executed, the page raises a cookie from the browser, and it is used by attackers to hijack a session session hijacking. The attackers can also monitor the victim’s keystrokes to collect confidential passwords.

6. Man in the Middle

It is the sneakiest of the attacks. The best example of carrying out a man in the middle attack is using an open and unprotected wi-fi connection. While using free internet wi-fi connection offered in hotels, malls, or public places, an attacker can easily intrude your session. At such places, attackers always seek to find people using confidential information like passwords or credit card details, etc. on the internet, which is then tracked.

7. Spyware

A freeware tool is the major source of spyware attack. When a freeware tool is downloaded, the spyware attached to it is also installed. Attackers then use this tool to compromise a victim’s system and collect confidential data.

8. Insider

Insider threat is considered to be the deadliest among all cyber attacks as they are at the mercy of basic human error. The employees’ intentional or unintentional behavior forms the root cause of this attack. Most of the attacks happen by accident or out of the negligence of an employee, which can be avoided only by training the staff on cybersecurity awareness.

9. Zero-day Exploit

A zero-day exploit is performed in the duration when the vulnerability is identified, and a patch is released to cover it. The attackers create tools based on the type of vulnerability and launch them to exploit it for their benefit.

10. Advanced Persistent Threats (APT)

It is the advanced type of attack where the source of the attack cannot be traced. The techniques like reconnaissance, discover, and capture is used to execute the APT attack.

11. Birthday

This is a type of brute force attack that tries to crash the hash algorithms. It is also a type of cryptographic attack where the targeted algorithms are used for checking the integrity of a data.

12. Password or Brute Force

According to a survey conducted by U.K.’s National Cyber Security Center (NSCS), “123456” is the most common password used by 23.2 million internet users. [1] The attacker uses the brute force technique to access the victim’s password. Over the years, brute force attacks have been increased by 400%. [2]

13. Drive-by-downloads

This is the simplest of the attacks and yet most vulnerable. Cyber attackers search for vulnerabilities on the websites, and when identified, they inject malicious code into the pre-existing PHP or HTTP code. The malware is thus executed on every system that visits the webpage.

14. Macro Viruses

A macro virus is a form of malware that targets the ‘.exe’ files. The .exe files are targeted by the attackers so that when an application is executed, the virus automatically overrides the system and multiplies to infect more software and the network.

15. Eavesdropping

It is a type of man-in-middle attack where the eavesdropper intercepts a network and eavesdrop over the transmitting traffic. Though this attack, the attacker can gain access to victim’s credential information which may include login details, credit card number, or passwords. By using the virtual protocol network (VPN), we can defend from eavesdrop attacks.

To be able to defend your organizations from various cyberattacks, you should be a pro in cybersecurity. There are a good number of effective methods to protect your network and devices from crucial cyberthreats.

To become a cybersecurity expert, you must have a certification that gives you the required knowledge and skills in the desired subject. EC-Council is a world-leading credentialing body that offers specialized cybersecurity programs which serve as a credential to many job roles. Our programs like Certified Ethical Hacker (C|EH), Certified Network Defender (C|ND), EC-Council Certified Security Analyst (ECSA), Computer Hacking and Forensic Investigator (C|HFI), and more, are few of the credentials that help you in becoming a pro in cybersecurity.


  1. https://edition.cnn.com/2019/04/22/uk/most-common-passwords-scli-gbr-intl/index.html
  2. https://www.scmagazineuk.com/brute-force-dictionary-attacks-400-percent-2017/article/1473168
  3. https://www.techrepublic.com/article/ransomware-attacks-on-businesses-up-365-this-year/
  4. https://thehackernews.com/2018/03/biggest-ddos-attack-github.html
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