A Comprehensive Review of the Latest Cyber Attacks
At a time when much of our daily business, political and personal lives are conducted online, cyber attacks are a significant concern.
Knowing what these cyber attacks look like and their consequences is an important first step in protecting yourself and your business.
Read on to learn more about the latest cyber attacks, including the reasons behind the crimes.
WHAT IS A CYBER ATTACK?
In layman’s terms, cyber attacks are attempts to obtain unauthorized access to a computer system or network with the intention of gaining valuable information or simply causing damage.
Attackers, sometimes called “bad actors,” “threat actors” or “hackers,” can be people or organizations operating with the intention of finding and exploiting weaknesses in computer systems.
While it can be argued that some hackers choose to perpetrate cyber attacks out of sheer enjoyment, here are four generally agreed-upon reasons why cyber attacks take place.
- Monetary gain. Hackers may steal account details that allow them to access funds. They may also encrypt data and demand a ransom for that data before allowing it to be un-encrypted. Another method is to steal sensitive corporate or governmental information and then sell it to the highest bidder.
- Publicity. Hackers will sometimes target well-known companies with the sole purpose of enjoying the publicity it generates – even though they aren’t necessarily named as the attacker. Groups like Lulzsec and Anonymous have gained notoriety by attacking companies and organizations like Sony, the US Senate website, the CIA and the NHS.
- Revenge. Hackers might attack a website if they have a reason to be upset with the organization behind the website. No matter the reason, these cyber attacks become a way for the hacker to settle a score.
- Freedom. Organizations like Anonymous claim to be freedom fighters, saying that their actions loosen the power of big corporations and political systems. This essentially glorifies hacking as an act of rebellion.
Cyber terrorism falls under the umbrella of cyber attacks but is on a different scale. Where cyberattacks can be done anonymously, cyber terrorism is often threatened or conducted by known players.
Essentially, cyber terrorism is a planned attack conducted by individuals or groups – often “state actors” that are affiliated with a particular country or state.
Some examples of cyber terrorism include threatening or causing significant harm in physical, political, economic and psychological arenas.
There are 6 components to a cyberterrorist attack:
- The threat actor. The threat actor is the perpetrator of the act, whether a person or a group.
- The motive. This is the essential reason behind the attack.
- The intention. The intention is the desired result of the attack, such as a fear reaction or the disruption of essential services or economic systems.
- The means. This refers to the tools and finances needed for performing the cyberterrorist act.
- The target. The target is the threat actor’s victim, which may be anything from an organization to a political party to hospitals, airports or other essential services.
- The effect. The effect refers to the result of the act, which may be something as simple as a fear reaction or as profound as destabilizing a political system.
THE TOP 10 CYBER ATTACKS OF 2022
Cyber attack methods change and adapt as people become more aware and security measures are updated. It is useful to understand the types of cyber security threats that have been prevalent during 2022, so you can be more alert for this type of activity.
The top 10 latest cyber attacks are:
- Malware. The term “malware” is short for “malicious software” and is the collective label for computer viruses like trojans, worms, spyware, adware, and ransomware.
- Phishing. Phishing attacks are social attacks in which the hacker impersonates a trusted contact or company and sends their target fake emails. The victim thinks the email – and the contact it is coming from – is genuine, so they open the email and click on the link or open the attachment. This allows the hacker to infect the victim’s computer and potentially the network it is connected to with malware. The victim may also be asked for login information thus providing the hacker with confidential information to do more damage.
- Login Attack. In this cyberattack, the hacker cracks your login details, whether they use a dictionary method or various login cracking software tools to beat weak passwords.
- Man-in-the-Middle. This is also known as an eavesdropping attack. The hacker hijacks a two-party communication session, allowing them to steal and use data.
- Structured Query Language (SQL) Injection. Normally, SQL is a programming language that allows the user to interact with a database, whether it is to alter the content or extract information. An SQL Injection happens when a hacker manipulates the query to gain access to critical information.
- Denial-of-Service. A Denial-of-Service attack targets a system and floods it with traffic, which exhausts the system’s resources and causes it to shut down.
- Insider Threat. An individual within the target organization leaks information that can leave the organization’s website or computer systems vulnerable, thus exposing crucial information.
- Crypto jacking. This kind of attack happens when hackers gain access to someone’s computer and use their computing resources for the purpose of mining cryptocurrency. This allows them to do so without paying for hardware, electricity, etc.
- Zero-Day Exploit. This describes a scenario where an attacker discovers a software vulnerability before the vendor has discovered it and provided a patch to correct it. The attacker then exploits the flaw to their advantage.
- Watering Hole. In this type of attack, the hacker attacks websites used by their target group, which they then infect with malware.
CYBER ATTACK STATISTICS BY YEAR
When we look at cyber attack statistics by the year, we see natural fluctuations as both hackers and security measures get more sophisticated.
In 2009, for example, the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center (ICCC) tracked 29 significant cyberattacks in the US alone – “significant,” in this case, means losses in excess of $1M.
Ten years later, in 2019, the ICCC reported 199 significant cyberattacks. Considering that these statistics only account for losses above the $1M mark, only apply to one country and occurred 3 years ago, it’s staggering to think what those numbers would look like today, across the world, for any dollar amount.
Malware attacks alone have become so common over the past decade that, statistically, one organization will endure an attack approximately every 11 seconds.
PROTECT YOUR BUSINESS FROM CYBER ATTACKS
There are many steps you can take, whether at home or in a business setting to protect your data from cyber attacks. Even simple steps such as locking your computer screen can go a long way to adding a line of defence against cyber threats.
Of course, the cybersecurity industry is constantly working on updated security features that can be applied to your network to enhance your protection. IT security specialists like BSC Solutions Group can review your cybersecurity plan, as well as recommend, install and maintain security software, plus advise on best practice policies and procedures.
Assisting small to medium-sized organizations across the Greater Toronto area with their IT needs for over 30 years, BSC Solutions Group knows how to protect your sensitive information.
Contact us today to find out how our expert team can keep your organization protected from cyber security threats.