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Cyber-Attacks: What do I need to know?

During this CoVid pandemic, we heard from our Prime Minister a few weeks back, about the increasing number of cyber-attacks. These attacks targeted several Australian organizations across a range of sectors, including all levels of government, industry, political organizations, education, health, essential service providers, and operators of other critical infrastructure.



But some of you may have questions in mind. What is cyber-attack? How many different types of cyber-attacks? Well, we are here to discuss those questions above and how we can protect ourselves from these attacks.

A cyber-attack is an attack launched from one or more computers against another computer, multiple computers, or networks. Cyber-attacks can be broken down into two broad types: attacks where the goal is to disable the target computer or knock it offline, or attacks where the goal is to get access to the target computer's data and perhaps gain admin privileges on it.


There are different types of cyber-attacks.

  1. Malware (Malicious Software): Worms, viruses, and trojans are all varieties of malware, distinguished from one another by how they reproduce and spread. These attacks may render the computer or network inoperable, or grant the attacker root access so they can control the system remotely

  2. Phishing: it is a technique by which cyber-criminals craft emails to fool a target into taking some harmful action. The recipient might be tricked into downloading malware that's disguised as an important document, for instance, or urged to click on a link that takes them to a fake website where they'll be asked for sensitive information like bank usernames and passwords.

  3. Ransomware: a form of malware that encrypts a victim's files. The attacker then demands a ransom from the victim to restore access to the data upon payment.

  4. Denial of service (DoS): a brute force method to stop some online service from working properly. The attackers send so much traffic to a website or so many requests to a database that it overwhelms those system's ability to function, making them unavailable to anybody.

  5. Man in the middle (MITM): a method by which attackers manage to interpose themselves secretly between the user and a web service they're trying to access. In this attack, the attacker might set up a Wi-Fi network with a login screen designed to mimic a legitimate network; once a user logs in, the attacker can harvest any information that the user sends, including your banking credentials.

  6. Cryptojacking: a specialized attack that involves getting someone else's computer to generate cryptocurrency (a process called mining in crypto lingo). The attackers will either install malware on the victim's computer to perform the necessary calculations or sometimes run the code in JavaScript that executes in the victim's browser.

  7. SQL injection: This attack can exploit a vulnerability to take control of a victim's database. Many databases are designed to obey commands written in the Structured Query Language (SQL), and many websites that take information from users send that data to SQL databases.

  8. Zero-day exploits: vulnerabilities in software that have yet to be fixed. The name arises because once a patch is released, each day represents fewer and fewer computers open to attack as users download their security updates.


Cyber-attacks are not a new gig, however, the attacks have changed. Broad, scattershot attacks designed for mischief have been replaced with advanced persistent threats focused on acquiring valuable data from an organization. Modern cyber attacks are often conducted across multiple vectors and stages. They have a plan to get in, signal back from the compromised network, and extract valuable data despite network security measures.





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