IT Security News 22 August 2022

What is a cyber-attack?

What is a cyber-attack?

Rosie Andrews

Companies which fall victim to cyber-attacks not only have to deal with the high costs associated with operational disruption, they also suffer from lasting reputational damage. And it’s not just high-profile companies who are targeted. According to a government survey, 39% of businesses reported experiencing a cyber-attack in the last year.

This article will explain what cyber threats are, and how you can identify them. We’ll also show you how to increase your cyber security and prevent criminals from accessing your network, stealing your data, and negatively impacting your business.


What is a cyber-attack?

A cyber-attack is classified as any attempt by cybercriminals to gain unauthorised access to information on computer systems.

Cyber threats take many forms and have become more intelligent in recent years. Whether attempting to steal money, data, or commit espionage, cybercriminals have developed techniques to bypass organisations’ security measures and take advantage of a lack of employee awareness.


Common types of cyber-attacks

To avoid cyber threats, you need to know what to look out for. Some are easier to spot than others, so let’s explore the many methods cybercriminals use to breach networks:

  • Malware
    A general term for malicious software, malware ranges from spyware and ransomware to viruses and worms. These attacks create vulnerability in a network by inviting users to click an email attachment or dangerous link which then installs hostile software.
  • Ransomware
    A type of malware which uses encryption to restrict access to a user’s files and presents a ransom demand in exchange for the decryption key. Often the only ways to recover the encrypted files are to restore the data from a backup (if you have one) or to pay the ransom demand.
  • Phishing
    An increasingly common method of cyber threat, phishing is targeted through emails. These are typically disguised to look like they’re sent from a reputable source, designed to trick the recipient into installing malware on their device or revealing sensitive data like passwords and credit card details.
  • Password
    Using software that accelerates cracking passwords, hackers can falsely authenticate access to files, folders, accounts, or computers that are password protected.
  • Man in the Middle Attacks (MitM)
    Sometimes referred to as ‘eavesdropping attacks’, MitM Attacks allow cybercriminals to insert themselves into a two-party transaction, filter, and then steal data. This can happen via unsecured public Wi-Fi connections or malware which has breached a device and installed software to steal a target’s data.
  • Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS)
    By using multiple devices to overload a system with traffic that depletes resources and exhausts bandwidth, DDoS attacks render servers and networks unable to fulfil legitimate access requests.


What do cyber-attacks target?

Not every cyber threat has the same motive, and businesses of all sizes across different industries are targeted alike. But what connects them? Below is a list of the resources and information most affected:

  • Business data
  • Client lists
  • Financial data
  • Customer databases
  • Email addresses
  • IT infrastructure


How to prevent cyber threats?

Now that we know what we’re dealing with, let’s have a look at how to stop them from causing any disruption or damage to your systems.

  • Carry out a cyber security assessment
    A cyber security audit can identify weak points in your network with a detailed 360° view of your IT system, then take action to upgrade and protect your business.
  • Conduct routine penetration tests
    A simulated cyber-attack will expose vulnerabilities in your system. Insights from your penetration test can inform what protocols and firewalls need adjusting or upgrading.
  • Train staff in IT security protocols
    Build cyber security awareness into your company’s culture with training and awareness. Minimise improper usage of devices and unsecured connections with easy-to-understand training on how to spot suspicious activity.
  • Endpoint protection
    Cyber-savvy staff are trained to monitor incoming and outgoing traffic on their company devices, and report and block any malware attempts.
  • Use multi-factor authentication
    This requires two or more authentication factors to access your systems or accounts, enhancing your organisation’s security status. Delicate data is less vulnerable – especially if one of the factors is physical, like a thumbprint or physical hardware key.
  • Manage third-party security
    Introducing access control provides an extra layer of security for your organisation. It helps protect important assets that a third-party may need to access without compromising the security of your entire network.
  • Keep systems up to date
    Make sure to update your systems regularly, so they always have the latest software installed. Current tech is one of the strongest lines of defence against malicious activity.

These are all included in Fabric’s Security For Business Services.


How can Fabric IT protect your business? 

We offer extensive cybersecurity services to help protect your network and devices from malicious hackers. Choose from a range of packages that include extensive staff training, Dark Web monitoring, and ongoing threat reports to detect phishing emails. With our help, you’ll keep hackers out of your network for good.

Rosie Andrews

Get in touch Back to blog