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Common Cybersecurity Attacks

Common cyberattacks to look out for.

A cyberattack is a malicious attempt by an organization or individual to breach a network containing sensitive data of individuals or organizations. Attackers use a variety of different methods to exploit their victims' networks. Here are some of the most common types of cyber attacks:

  • Brute force attack
  • Advanced persistent threat (APT)
  • Ransomware
  • Denial-of-service (DoS) and distributed denial-of-service (DDoS)
  • Phishing
  • Credential stuffing
  • Man-in-the-middle attack
  • SQL injection
  • Cross-site scripting (XSS)

Brute force attack

A brute force attack is an attempt to gain access to a system by guessing a password or username using a trial-and-error approach. Even though it seems like an outdated way to hack into systems, this method is effective. These attacks are automated, and the usernames and passwords used for guessing are usually obtained from previous data breaches. Ways to prevent brute force attacks from happening include enforcing robust passwords, limiting the number of login attempts, and implementing two-factor authentication (2FA).

Advanced persistent threat (APT)

Just as the name suggests, an APT is a sophisticated technique where the attacker infiltrates the network through vulnerable entry points, plants malware in the network, and manages to avoid detection for some time. Usually, the purpose of such an attack is to harvest sensitive data. Since the evidence of the attack is usually difficult to detect, the criminals are often able to regain access to the system whenever needed.


Ransomware is a type of malware that infects your system by encrypting your files and folders and then demanding a ransom in exchange for the decryption key. Some infamous ransomware attacks are WannaCry, Cryptowall, and NotPetya. 

Denial-of-service (DoS) and distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks

A DoS attack is an attack that makes computer systems inaccessible to their legitimate users by flooding the target site with multiple requests that trigger a crash. DDoS attacks are similar, but instead of using one device, multiple connected devices are used to attack the target site.


Phishing is a method in which a target is contacted by someone posing as a trusted or known user or website to trick unsuspecting users into providing sensitive information. Usually, unsuspecting users are directed to a fake login page, which will prompt them to enter their user account credentials.

Credential stuffing

Credential stuffing is a technique where a hacker will use an automated script to access an application using a list of stolen credentials, which can be obtained from any black market site. Since many users have a bad habit of using the same password for all their applications, attackers can gain access into many sensitive services if they guess just one set of credentials correctly. 

Man-in-the-middle attack

Just as the name suggests, the man-in-the-middle is like an eavesdropper between two sessions where the communication between two parties is monitored and intercepted. The goal of such an attack is to steal financial or login information of users.

SQL injection

SQL injection is a technique used by attackers to manipulate an application’s database using malicious SQL code to view or alter the contents of the database.

Cross-site scripting (XSS)

Cross-site scripting attacks occur when an attacker injects malicious code to be executed on another user's browser. The malicious script can be injected into the current HTTP request, the website's database, or from the client side.

Any organization, large or small, could fall victim to one of these cyberattacks if no stringent cybersecurity measures are in place. This is why it's essential to assess your organization’s cybersecurity posture on a regular basis to fully understand the weaknesses in your network and implement protection measures accordingly.

ManageEngine Log360 will help analyze your network activity, detect internal and external threats, audit your Active Directory environment, and help stay compliant with regulatory policies. Try a 30-day free trial to see this tool in action for yourself.


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