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What is a Cyberattack?

A cyberattack is a malicious activity that cybercriminals launch using different tactics against systems and networks. Hackers use cyberattacks to expose, gain unauthorized access, alter, steal, destroy, or make unauthorized use of information assets.

Cybercriminals engage in offensive maneuvers that target information systems, infrastructures, computer networks, and personal devices to access information, restricted areas, and controls of systems without authorization.

Key Takeaways

Impacts of Cyberattacks

Individuals, groups, sovereign states, societies, activists, and other organizations employ cyber attacks with malicious intent.

A cyberattack can result in various unfavorable effects, such as disabling computers and systems, stealing data, and using breached devices to launch attacks on other computers.

Types of Cyberattacks

Cybercriminals use different methods and tools to launch a cyberattack on their target. Depending on the hacker’s intent, a cyberattack can be targeted or random. Cybercriminals devise new ways to throw targets off their defenses.

A cyberattack can be active or passive. An active attack attempts to alter system resources and affect their operations. A passive attack attempts to learn or make use of information from the target without affecting the system resources.

A cyberattack can originate from outside or inside the organization. The unauthorized or illegitimate user causes an outside attack. These external attackers include hostile governments, pranksters, organized criminals, script kiddies, and international terrorists.

An inside attack originates from an entity inside the security perimeter. An insider can be an employee, vendor, or contractor authorized to access system resources and information but uses them in an unapproved manner.

Some of the cyberattacks include:

This list is not exhaustive. The industry OWASP Foundation maintains a list of the top 10 cyberattacks hackers use against web applications. You can have a look at the list on OWASP’s website.

Today, cyberattacks affecting millions of users are far too common. About 3.5 billion people lost their data in the top two of the 15 biggest cyberattacks.

Some of the most prominent incidents in recent memory include:

George Mutune

I am a cyber security professional with a passion for delivering proactive strategies for day to day operational challenges. I am excited to be working with leading cyber security teams and professionals on projects that involve machine learning & AI solutions to solve the cyberspace menace and cut through inefficiency that plague today's business environments.