Types of Cyber Threats

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Most common types of cyber threats

cyberthreats

To understand the threats posed by the cyber criminals we have created an overview of the most common types of threats used to compromise the global IT-infrastructure.

The explanations below build on the United Kingdom National Cyber Security Centre’s definitions.

Ransomware

Malicious software that makes data or systems unusable until the victim makes a payment.

Botnet

A network of infected devices, connected to the internet, used to commit coordinated cyber-attacks without their owners’ knowledge.

Denial of Service (DoS)

When legitimate users are denied access to computer services (or resources), usually by overloading the service with requests.

Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS)

A subcategory of the DoS attack type with the extra D standing for “distributed”. This is the case when a botnet is used to intensify the attack with a large group of computers to overload the service with requests.

Phishing Untargeted

Mass emails sent to as many recipients, asking for more sensitive information (e.g. bank details) or encouraging them to visit a fake website. The effectivity of this method has led to the creation of the even more refined methods “spear-phishing” and “whaling”.

Spear-phishing

A more targeted form of phishing, where the email is designed to look like it’s from a person the recipient knows and/or trusts.

Whaling

A highly targeted phishing attack (masquerading as legitimate emails) that are aimed at senior executives.

Trojan

A type of malware or virus disguised as legitimate software, that is used to hack into the victim’s computer.

Zero-day

Is not a specific type of threat but a broad term describing the recently discovered vulnerabilities (bugs), not yet known to vendors or antivirus companies, that hackers can exploit.

Social Engineering

An effort to manipulate people into carrying out harmful actions that’s of use to an attacker. This can be done through hacked company accounts asking for divulging information or similar attempts of criminal acts.


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