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A Cyber Attacks Glossary

It might feel simplistic to discuss the various ways cyber criminals impose cyber attacks. However, cyber-attacks are becoming increasingly sophisticated, while many businesses have limited resources to thwart these persistent threats. Besides, as digital footprints grow, so do the risks associated with a larger attack surface.

The concept of cyber security services is quite simple: It involves layered practices and precautions implemented to keep end users safe and systems working as intended. In the era of 5G, IoT everywhere, and virtual living, it is crucial to ensure you have a backup and disaster recovery services vendor on hand.

In the past few months alone, cyber criminals have employed advanced social engineering methods to exploit fears associated with the pandemic. Further, many threat actors have transitioned from email-based attacks to browser-based attacks. Once a business network is breached, the battle becomes ever more fierce as cyber criminals are introducing more nefarious forms of malware and ransomware. The best option is detection, mitigation, and prevention. It’s vital to have a cyber security services partner available to monitor your networks 24/7. Let’s start with some of the most infamous data breaches of the past decade.

Learn from these cyber attacks

For the most part, cyber-attacks are predictable – an end-user may receive an on-screen ransom threat and demand claiming they can only access their files/computer after payment is received, usually in cryptocurrency. Other times, end users won’t even notice how many malware types have already infected their systems and are secretly stealing confidential data. However, there have been some shockingly massive cyber attacks, and we highlight a few below.

DarkHotel

Invariably, Wi-Fi networks in some hotels aren’t always the most secure. When company executives are traveling on business or remote employees are working away from home, it’s imperative to connect to a secure network. A case in point is the DarkHotel spyware attack. Once end-users connected to the hotel Wi-Fi, they were prompted to update a popular application. Unfortunately, this fake update installed spyware that logged keystrokes, helping cyber criminals launch more effective phishing attacks.

Mirai

Botnet attacks aren’t new, but the IoT has given them an edge. Translated from Japanese as “future,” the Mirai botnet attack targeted IoT devices without the proper cyber security protocols in places such as smart routers and more. These “smart” devices then passed on the malware.

On October 21, 2016, “smart” IP cameras, video recorders, and more were hit and flooded DNS services provider Dyn with requests. As if pieces in a wave of falling dominoes, Twitter, PayPal, Netflix, Playstation Online, Spotify, and other global services were affected. The Mirai botnet attack scale made manufacturers reconsider cyber security services for “smart” devices and products.

WannaCry

The WannaCry attack made ransomware a household term. The Equation Group hacking team created a ransomware encryptor that could spread over local networks and the Internet. In four days, WannaCry shut down over 200,000 computers in 150 countries, including hospitals, medical devices, and manufacturers. In fact, WannaCry was the most far-reaching ransomware attack to date, and it is still out there. Moreover, WannaCry cost affected organizations between $4 – $8 billion.

NotPetya/ExPetr

NotPetya is one of the most expensive cyber attacks to date, with damages estimated at around $10 billion. NotPetya used a ransomware encryptor called ExPetr with the EternalBlue and EternalRomance worms to irreversibly encrypt everything it traversed on the web. Further, these cyber criminals gained control of the MeDoc update server, and every end-user who initiated the update inadvertently spread the malware. As a result, a multitude of businesses were negatively impacted, as were their customers.

Cyber attacks glossary

Botnet — Botnet is the shortened term for robotic networks. A series of computers are compromised by malware via SPAM, DoS flooding, and more to execute criminal data breaches.

Bug — A bug is a flaw in a system that hackers may find and compromise the system.

Cyber attack — A cyber-attack attempts to cause criminal damage via exploitation, malware, phishing, vishing, botnet, or something else.

Data breach — A data breach occurs when unauthorized users unlock access to confidential information.

DDoS (Distributed Denial of Service) attack — A DDoS attack works to block access to a resource employing flooding requests, connection exhaustion, and resource demands. In essence, a DDoS attempts to flood the system using botnets.

Hacker — A hacker can be ethical (authorized) or unethical (unauthorized). A malicious hacker may use knowledge and coding to exploit and gain access to the system of their choice. However, there are also “script kiddies,” which essentially follow a code script to hack into networks.

Insider threat — Some of the worst attacks can come from “insiders” who already have access (both physically and virtually). So then, insiders might impose a more massive threat than an outsider.

Keylogger — Keylogger software or a hardware device is used to record keystrokes. Hackers who monitor keyloggers can find passwords and even answers to secret questions.

Malware (malicious software) — Malware can include logic bombs, ransomware, spyware/adware, Trojan horses, viruses, worms, and more. The purpose is to breach security and open access to confidential information.

Phishing — Phishing is a form of social engineering perpetrated via email, SMS text messages, or even social networks. The objective is to gain credit card data, personal identity information, login credentials, and more. Phishing attacks are relatively easy because they don’t require extensive coding skills, and all the hacker has to do is find a way to mimic legitimate entities effectively. For instance, a recipient may get an email from Netflix stating the site has been breached and they need to update their login credentials, but they are sent to a fake site, and the email was sent from netflixx.com instead of netflix.com.

Ransomware — Ransomware is malware that can encrypt systems and data. The point is to obtain a “ransom” to decrypt the systems and data. Usually, ransomware perpetrators request cryptocurrencies because they are more challenging to track.

Virus — A virus will attach itself to a host file or Master Boot Record (MBR) and act as a parasite. If not stopped, it can easily infect other objects and computers. Some viruses aim to destroy files.

Vishing — Vishing is a form of phishing, except it occurs over VoIP. The cyber criminal uses a VoIP system to falsify their number and trick their victims into believing they are receiving a call from a legitimate source.

Final thought

In the wake of the pandemic, many organizations are faced with a challenging task: Ensuring the right cyber security services are employed while their staff continues to work remotely. And, they need to do this with fewer resources, an overwhelmed IT team, and perhaps, smaller budgets. The solution? SSI offers 24/7 monitoring, incident detection, advanced mail filtering, mobile device management, dark web monitoring, multi-factor authentication, backup and disaster recovery services, and end-user cyber hygiene training. The best response to increasingly sophisticated cyber threats is to get back to the basics. Let our team of experts help your organization stop cyber attacks in their tracks.

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