How Are Cyberattacks Carried Out?

Businesses are incredibly dependent on technology today. Computers and centralized databases allow a company to store and organize all of its paperwork and data efficiently and effortlessly. Compare the amount of time and effort saved by uploading or saving a document — as opposed to manually filing it — and it is no wonder that companies are increasingly utilizing cloud systems for storing their files.

Such digitization, however, makes it easier to steal classified company information. Previously, one would have to break into company headquarters and steal a certain file to obtain information. Today, it is possible to hack into a company’s database and download all information stored there. Such attempts to illegally obtain information from a certain individual or organization through a breach in the information system are called cyberattacks.

Because cyberattacks can be carried out by as little as one person armed with a computer, they are becoming increasingly prevalent. There are a variety of reasons why cyberattacks are perpetrated — from a desire to profit through ransom, to simply leaking information to expose a certain individual or company. Here are some of the most common types of cyberattacks.

Malware

The definition of malware is evident in the origins of its name — a portmanteau of “malicious software.” Malware can typically take the form of viruses, worms, and spyware, and is commonly installed in a system through a dangerous link, attachment, or pop-up that a user may click on. Once clicked, it proceeds to download the software inside a computer. Depending on the type of malware, it is capable of disseminating the virus throughout the network, disrupting key parts of the system, and even covertly obtaining information from the computer’s hard drive.

Phishing

Phishing alert icon over laptop

Phishing is one of the most common types of cyberattacks. Here, fraudulent emails or communications are sent to users, requesting very specific and sensitive information which will then be stolen. Phishing may also be a form of installing malware on a system, as the email may direct a user to click on a link to a fake website, which then downloads the malware onto the computer.

Distributed-denial-of-service attack

Distributed-denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks are carried out by botnets, a network of devices that have been infected with malware. These botnets overwhelm a central server with numerous data requests simultaneously. This spike in traffic then exhausts the server’s bandwidth, which results in the system being unable to fulfill legitimate requests. Ultimately, the goal of a DDoS attack is to crash the system, thereby jeopardizing business operations. Hence, hackers normally use DDoS attacks to extort money from or cripple an existing organization.

SQL injection

Structured Query Language (SQL) injections involve inserting a malicious code that uses SQL into a server to reveal information that the server normally does not. An SQL injection is one of the simplest cyberattacks to carry out, as it only involves inputting malicious code that contains altered SQL statements into a website or application. Typically, this allows the hacker to bypass authentication when logging in to an application, and to obtain — and even alter — sensitive information.

Because of the consequences that may arise from cyberattacks, large and influential companies especially should be taking steps to protect against them. Fortunately, IT solutions companies such as ServiceNow are able to strengthen security operations by addressing system vulnerabilities and providing orchestrated and automated responses to security threats. This is guaranteed to help in ensuring that no cyberattacks ever befall your company.

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