Knowing about the Different Types of Cyber-Attacks

types of cybercrime
Written by Michael Katz

Computer Hacks are quite commonplace in today’s world. Everyone’s computer is hacked into at some point or the other. Where peoples’ personal computers used to get hacked into all the time, today the situation has got much worse as hackers make conduct orchestrated attacks on big organizations. Reports and news about global attacks surface on blogs and news spaces more frequently than ever. In the light of the current situation, it is imperative that the everyday internet and computer users know the various kinds of cyber-attacks they are vulnerable to.

Different Types of Cyber-Attacks


Speaking in general, a malware is a code with a malicious intent. Most malware codes either steal data from a user’s computer or destroy data. It is fair to assume that everyone’s computer is infected by a malware at least once in their lifetime. The different kinds of malware are:

  • Virus – Viruses attack a computer and then hide in the system. Similar to human viruses, they attach themselves to a host in order to become active and survive and replicate at a tremendous rate. They can be rather difficult to spot
  • Worms – A worm is similar to a virus in that it replicates itself at a fast rate. But it is different from viruses in that it does not need to attach itself to a host. It can also replicate to entire networks
  • Spyware – A spyware, as the name suggests, is a type of malware that spies on the user. Although it remains hidden beneath the computer layers, it monitors the user’s activity and can even record keystrokes. This means that Spyware can record a user’s passwords.

Denial-of-Service Attacks

A DoS attack is a different form of cyber-attacks in that it focusses on interrupting a network service. It does so by overflowing the server of a network with connection requests. As the server is flooded with more requests than it can handle, legitimate users are denied service due to non-availability of servers.

This attack can be performed from one location or multiple locations (DDoS attack). Botnets are frequently used in a DoS attack. Botnets are zombie systems that the attacker gains access of and then uses them for the purpose of perpetuating a DoS attack.

Password Attacks

This is another common type of cyber-security attack on which most of the cyber-security tools are centred. A password attack is cracking a user’s password and then gaining access to his email and other such accounts. This can lead to the theft and compromise of personal and sensitive data of the user. There are two types of password attacks:

  • Dictionary Attack – This attack uses a dictionary to try out different combinations of words to find a match for a person’s password. Various tools have been created for the carrying out of this attack. This is why email providers stress on using strong passwords that do not contain common words.
  • Brute Force Attack – A brute force attack is an attack where the attacker uses all known combinations of letter etc. to crack a person’s password. Theoretically, it always gives a match in the end, but the feasibility of the process is determined by how weak a password is. The stronger the password, the longer it takes a brute force attack to crack it. Although specific tools are available to aid this attack, using a strong password is the best precaution.


In this article, we discussed the three different types of cyber-attacks that are most common and ironically most dangerous for anyone. Although cyber-security tools have been built against them, the hackers too upgrade their methodologies to conduct more sophisticated attacks. There are various types of cyber-attacks that hackers use, but we have mentioned the most commonly used ones here.

About the author

Michael Katz

Michael Katz is a technology and security writer who grew up around technology. From a very early age, he has been in love with computers and follows many of the companies that produce them, hoping to learn more about what makes them tick. When not writing about technology and internet security, he can be found on the pitch with his friends playing a friendly game of football.


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