A cyber attack is a malicious and deliberate attempt by an individual or organization to breach the information system of another individual or organization. Usually, the attacker seeks some type of benefit from disrupting the victim’s network.
Cyber attacks hit businesses every day. Former Cisco CEO John Chambers once said, “There are two types of companies: those that have been hacked, and those who don’t yet know they have been hacked.” According to the Cisco Annual Cybersecurity Report, the total volume of events has increased almost fourfold between January 2016 and October 2017. Cybercrime has increased every year as people try to benefit from vulnerable business systems. Often, attackers are looking for ransom: 53 percent of cyber attacks resulted in damages of $500,000 or more. Cyberthreats can also be launched with ulterior motives. Some attackers look to obliterate systems and data as a form of “hacktivism.”
Common types of cyber attacks
Malware is a term used to describe malicious software, including spyware, ransomware, viruses, and worms. Malware breaches a network through a vulnerability, typically when a user clicks a dangerous link or email attachment that then installs risky software. Once inside the system, malware can do the following:
- Blocks access to key components of the network (ransomware)
- Installs malware or additional harmful software
- Covertly obtains information by transmitting data from the hard drive (spyware)
- Disrupts certain components and renders the system inoperable
Phishing is the practice of sending fraudulent communications that appear to come from a reputable source, usually through email. The goal is to steal sensitive data like credit card and login information or to install malware on the victim’s machine. Phishing is an increasingly common cyberthreat.
Latest cyber-attack news
Whether they come from so-called hacktivist groups or state-sponsored cyber warfare units, this type of attack is increasingly giving cause for concern.
The Daily Swig provides day-to-day coverage of recent cyber-attacks, arming organisations and users with the information they need to stay protected.
- Reputational damage
Loss of customer and stakeholder trust can be the most harmful impact of cybercrime, since the overwhelming majority of people would not do business with a company that had been breached, especially if it failed to protect its customers’ data. This can translate directly into a loss of business, as well as devaluation of the brand you’ve worked so hard to build.
While a cyber-raid on a big-name bank may net the attacker a sizeable haul, smaller businesses’ defenses are typically less sophisticated and easier to penetrate, making them a softer target. Cyber-enabled fraud leads to monetary losses, but stolen data can be worth far more to hackers, especially when sold on the Dark Web.
- Financial losses
Cybercrime costs small businesses disproportionately more than big businesses when adjusted for organizational size. For a large corporation, the financial impact of a breach may run into the millions, but at their scale, the monetary implications are barely a blip on the radar.
Organizations are finding themselves under the pressure of being forced to react quickly to the dynamically increasing number of cybersecurity threats. Since the attackers have been using an attack life cycle, organizations have also been forced to come up with a vulnerability management life cycle.