6 common types of cyberattacks and their consequences for businesses


30,000 websites are attacked every day. Did you know? Not surprising since telecommuting is now commonplace and the majority of business operations are conducted online. Fortunately, there are ways to recognize and protect against the most common cyberattacks. Overview of the categories, types, consequences, and prevention of the most common attacks encountered online.

What is a cyberattack?

A cyberattack is defined as an attack on the availability, integrity, or confidentiality of an organization’s computer or digital data systems by a malicious individual. This person is also known as a “black hat” or “hacker”.

What are the main categories of cyberattacks?

Specifically, there are 4 main categories of cyberattacks.

1. Cybercrime

This category includes attempts to hack into systems, data theft, attempts to disrupt systems, and extortion.

2. Reputational damage

A hacker seeking to damage a company’s image will attack its systems in an attempt to publicly expose confidential information or bad practices.

3. Espionage

A malicious individual can engage in industrial or strategic espionage through a cyberattack to steal a competitor’s practices and take advantage of the information to improve his own strategy, for example.

4. Sabotage

Mostly experienced by online sales companies, sabotage through system disruption (Distributed Denial of Service [DDOS] attacks) affects current operations and limits the possibility of making sales.

What are the various types of cyberattack?

Within the 4 main categories of cyber attacks, there are 6 common types of cyberattacks that can have various consequences on the company.

1. Sending spam or junk mail 

Spam is a cyberattack that uses emails (phishing) or text messages (smishing) to spread malware or steal credentials.

2. Exploiting vulnerabilities

A vulnerability is a security flaw that a hacker takes advantage of by executing a sequence of code to gain remote access to a program or computer.

3. Entrapment (social engineering)

This type of cyberattack targets specific individuals. The malicious individual sets a trap to manipulate them into taking actions that lead to a hack.

4. Supply Chain Attack

A supply chain attack is a type of cyberattack that involves introducing malicious code into a software vendor’s program to compromise the software before it is sold. This creates a backdoor into systems and data during deployment.    

5. Brute force attack

With brute force attack, a hacker performs massive fraudulent authentication attempts to log into a company’s email boxes or applications. This type of cyberattack can be done manually or using software.

6. Credential Stuffing

This type of cyberattack is carried out manually or with software to carry out massive authentication attempts on websites or web services using pairs of data (identifiers & passwords). The hacker will search for them on the Internet or on the Dark Web in order to find the credentials,

What are the possible consequences of a cyberattack for an SMB?

When a company is the victim of one or more cyberattacks, the consequences can be serious and extensive. A cyberattack can not only harm the operational and financial side of a company, but also its image.

Here are some common consequences:

● Breakdown of the company’s computer systems
● Release of confidential data to the public
● Copies of its products, software, or systems created on the market
● Bitcoin ransom demand (cyberextortion)
● Damage to the reputation of the company and individuals
● Clients, partners, and investors lose faith in the company
● Interruption of activities and loss of productivity within the company
● Financial loss and drop in revenues
● Psychological damage, stress, and anxiety

A cyberattack, no matter how serious, always has consequences for the company. Whether it is in terms of its reputation, its finances, or its operational management, the company must face setbacks that can be felt for months, sometimes even years.

This is compounded by the stress and anxiety, as well as the reputational damage, experienced by those who suffer from cyberattacks.

In some extreme cases, a cyberattack can also lead to the bankruptcy of a company. This is why it is important to take the necessary steps to avoid this kind of situation.

Prevent hacking with the right cybersecurity techniques and solutions

There are several practical ways to protect your computer and digital systems from cyberattacks.

Frequent system updates, multi-factor authentication for logging in, the use of different credentials for each system with a password manager, an extended detection and response (XDR) solution, and immutable backups that even the administrator cannot erase are effective ways to prevent many cyberattacks.

You can also implement an IT security awareness program for your employees, conduct a digital footprint scan or, better yet, implement a fully managed and integrated cybersecurity solution.

Not sure where to start? Contact one of our IT security experts to discuss the best solution for your business.

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