30 Top Most Common Types of Cyber Attack that you Need to Know

When comes to cyber life and infosec, security professionals should be aware of the ins and outs of the cyber-attacks, to identify, mitigate and fix them in time. In this article, we discuss 30 Top Most Common Types of Cyber Attack that you Need to Know.

With extreme growth in technology, the loopholes for cyberattacks are evolving every day. Cybercriminals have gained the skills of executing a sophisticated attack, taking down enterprises and encrypting the business data. 

Only if we understand the attacks, their types and workflows an effective mitigation procedure can be established. In this article, we'll look at the thirty most important cyberattacks of all time.

Common Types of Cyber Attack

1. Malware

Malware is an anonymous or harmful program deployed with malicious intent to cause havoc, steal data, disturb the performance and more. Malware is a common term for Adware, Spyware, Trojan, Worm, Web-Trojan, and Virus. Malware can be sneaky depending on the development and cause anonymous device behaviors. Using an Anti-Virus solution can be effective to detect and delete these malware threats. But few can even stay past the AV scans.

2. Spyware

Spyware is a malware used for spying on user devices, grabbing their personal data. It's more like an exponential to your browser cookies where it tracks everything you do on your device. Certain spyware can even secretly spy over users through webcams and microphone jacks. And that's why even Mark Zuckerberg has taped them away.

3. Vulnerability

Vulnerabilities are another prime reason for hackers to sneak-in into the networks. With different departments, enterprises do have the number of applications which can be become vulnerable if not patched on the right time. Any outdated applications may contain critical to moderate level vulnerabilities which can be used by the hackers to infiltrate the networks.

4. Zero-day

If the same vulnerability is reported instantly once identified and the patch for this vulnerability has not yet been released by the vendor then it is called as Zero-day vulnerability and considered to be very crucial for enterprises as there is no patch and IT security professionals have to identify an alternative means of temporary solution until the patch gets released.

5. Ransomware

Ransomware is a type of malware the encrypts the files and folders in devices and deman ransom for decrypting the same. Popular examples are WannaCry, NotPetya, Ryuk, and SamSam.

6. Trojan

Trojans are another type of malware that looks genuine as software but ain't. Hackers employ trojans to break intro targeted devices using social engineering techniques, making the targeted users download their trojan, once done they will own the overall hacking procedure using this trojan.

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7. Virus

The virus is a malware, that enters a system and inserts its code into the software, thus successfully modifying the overall software or the program. Based on the modifications, this virus could facilitate hackers for further infiltration of networks.

8. Breach

Any hacking procedure that hackers employs to enter a network in secretly and infiltrate the network for potential data or information, steal it or erase the same is called as a Breach. This could be at a system or network level.

9. Botnet

Hacker employees practices to convert a trusted network device like laptop, desktop, mobile device or IoT device into a corrupted hacking facilitating equipment using his usual network penetration methodologies like DDoS, etc. This device is called a Botnet and it will aid hackers in further breaching of the network.

10. DDOS

Distributed Denial of Service(DDOS) is a method of flooding the bandwidth of multiple systems into a single targeted system. Sending more traffic through one particular channel to disturb the normal operations in place. This is where botnets can be super powerful.

11. Phishing

This is one of the common forms of cyberattack and users can easily become victim to it, as it is very sneaky. Phishing is the process of fooling the end-users, by disguising as if legitimate sites or emails, with attachments luring the user to establish contact and interact with the fake display of information. Phishing is a primary weapon for most of the cybercriminals.

12. Spam

Sending anonymous mails from unknown sources, with catchy subject lines or advertising products in no relation to the end-user is called Spamming and are usually marked as spams by the email providers. Spam can at times be very genuine, which is how phishing gets executed successfully.

13. Keylogger

The process of recording every stroke a user’s makes in a keyboard, to hack into the systems later by tracking the credentials is the purpose of Keylogger. This is usually deployed to breach into secret vaults and wallets. Employing the right identity access management procedures could restrain them.

14. Brute Force Attack

Brute force attack is a trial and error method used by some application programs to identify passwords and other confidential information like OTP's and Authentication Codes.

There is no major science behind this, as this pure generation of the different probability of numbers or alphabets to get the right one finally and then gain access to the account or network. Brute Force Attack can be lethal if you do not practice a strong password policy system in your network.


If malware gets pass the normal authentication procedures, using some remote control options, for example using a command and control server to deploy the assigned task it is called as a Backdoor. This type of malware could be hazardous if you do not have the right controls to detect them at early stages.

16. Honeypot

Honeypot is a deception technology that enterprises should equip to detect any malicious traffic entering their network. Honeypot will be a part of your network architecture but will act as a decoy to hackers, displaying itself as the legitimate server. So once the hackers start hitting this honeypot, security professionals can analyze and identify the source of the attacks and neutralize the same without any damage to the corporate network.

17. Spoofing

Spoofing is the process of faking the source of action for malicious activity. Hackers employ spoofing to keep their identity hidden and untraceable, this could go multi-levels thus making it difficult for white hat hackers to trace back to the source of the attack.


A worm is a type of malware that keeps replicating itself to spread into new uninfected devices from its original source and keeps that cycle. Worms use the invisible automated services in an operating system to spread across devices in the network. These worms differ based on the operating system and their intentions.

19. Adware

Adware is a malware type that shows anonymous ads in your browser and thus generates revenue to the developer or his clients. This adware can sneak into your network via chrome extensions or download of anonymous executables.

20. Rootkits

Rootkits are programs that allow hackers to remotely access user devices to release malicious programs like keyloggers secretly, ransomware, worms, and trojans into the system, and eventually making the spread across the targeted network. There are different types of rootkits, like kernel mode, user mode, firmware, and rootkits.

21. MITM

Not all communications we make over the web are secured, that's why the cybersecurity best practices suggest us to use https formats for browsing the web. When you communicate with another person via mail or a chat system, there are chances for a hacker to interrupt this communication and eavesdrop to your communication or disguise as the receiver. This type of attack is called Man-in-the-middle attacks. This usually happens because of unhygienic browsing practices.

22. Cyber espionage

Cyber espionage is a package of hacking techniques that are used by a hacker to break into a network and get away with very sensitive data or cause havoc. The intentions may differ based on the target and motive behind the espionage. Usually, it is targeted at enterprises and government entity. Hackers employ advanced persistent tests to breach into the network and access the data.

23. RAT

Remote Access Trojans (RAT) is another malware program that comes with a backdoor to gain admin privilege over the targeted system. These are usually deployed using a phishing methodology, by using an email attachment then the hacker may use RAT to exploit the systems and network further.

24. Social Engineering

Social engineering is a way of breaching into systems by manipulating the targeted users using normal conversations or traditional methods. Some very common type of social engineering attacks are tailgating, phishing, pretexting, baiting, and quid pro quo. Social engineering is usually the first step to gain access to a network or system.

25. Vishing

Process of manipulating the targeted users over voice emails, cold calling, or cellular phones to reveal bank details, personal data, credit/debit card details and more. This could be automated or manual, but it's almost similar to phishing where the entity that's involved in getting this accomplished using a voice process.

26. Evil Twins

A hacker creates a fake WAP Wi-Fi network similar to a legitimate provider when the users connect with this network, a hacker can easily gain access to there personal information and then finally escalate his hacking techniques to breach into their devices. This is very common in a public place like coffee shops, malls and movie theatres. Practicing VPN and password-protected Wi-Fi networks can prevent users from becoming victim to these kinds of threats.                         

27. Malvertising

Malvertising is the process of showing ads to the targeted user over the browser and once the user interacts with the advertisement, malware will be automatically installed on that device, thus offering control for hackers to execute further hacks. Malvertising is an organized cybercrime often state-sponsored as well.

28. Insider threats

Not all employees are happy about your organizations, disgruntled employees can definitely cause havoc to the enterprise in one or other ways. But certain employees unknowingly threaten the enterprise IT security by involving in unhygienic cyber practices.

These threats could come from your employees at a different level based on their privilege over corporate information. This is where the enterprises should make use of log management and SIEM solutions to monitor the user behavior and analyze the same round the clock to stay safe from insider threats.

29. Man-in-the-browser attacks

This attack is very much similar to MITD, but unlike the latter where the attack could be widespread, this is limited to browser-based takedowns. Hackers can sneak into your browser through outdated browser plugins and eavesdrop into your official and personal browsing behavior’s, accessing the sensitive data and more.

30. Watering hole attacks

This type of attack is targeted at a group of users, by infecting the website these users visit. The intention is to lure the users, making them the victim, thus gaining access to their devices and finally the corporate network where they work. The name is inspired by a real-world where the predators lurk near the watering holes to take down the preys.

All the above thirty cyberattacks have their own source of origin and method of execution. With so many hacking techniques the IT security professionals always do have a challenging task to do, keeping their network and business safe from anonymous breaches. CIO and CISO need to strategize their cybersecurity procedures, by educating their system administrators and technicians to equip tools like SIEM, ATP, UEM, IAM, and PAM to restrain themselves from becoming victim to anonymous and unknown cyberattacks.

Employing these tools after a healthy discussion and evaluation, understanding their business demands and security loopholes could aid CIO's to channelize their overall software evaluation process simple and perfect. Businesses can make use of market analyst firms like Gartner, IDC, Forrester and more to study the offerings in the market its pros and cons, before making their final decision.

If you have experienced any of the above cyberattacks and would like to share it with us, please comment the same below. This will help us understand how in real-time these attacks are happening in the market and what can business do to avoid them. If you are interested in learning more about these attacks in real-time, you can subscribe to our ethical hacking courses which will give you the insights on the market based on cyberthreats and their execution procedures.

Patching your devices alone can prevent you from becoming victim to ten out of thirty cyberattacks mentioned above.

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