Top 10 Most Common Types of Hacking Attacks

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Cyber threats have spread its fear all over the world. The latest report in stastia.com states that major US states have incurred losses of around 800 million US dollars in the financial year 2017. The Hacking attacks are increasing day by day. Cyber crimes in India have increased by 19 times in the past 10 years with around 500 in 2005 to 9622 in 2014. 27482 cases of internet theft have been reported last year. In this way, it will lead to cyber crimes occurring in every minute. USA and China ranks above India in the list of cases reported related to Hacking.

With the advancement of technology, the security systems are getting updated and along with it the common types of hacking are also becoming more advanced and lethal. Moreover, hackers of the present century are highly learned software engineers or software developers.

So to keep a system safe from hackers users must get well acquainted with the common types of hackings.

malware attack

Malware is the most common type of hackings. Malware is malicious and harmful software that enters into the victim’s computer disrupts the system. Often users download these types of software. It can happen when outdated anti-viruses are used or an antivirus alert pop-up is ignored. Malware can also enter when harmful email attachments are clicked. Malware can cause a lot of threats like – controlling the machine from the attacker’s base, stealing confidential documents, monitoring the victim’s actions, etc.

Common types of Malware are:

Trojans – Trojans or Trojan horse are such types of harmful software that come attached to useful programs and hide in those programs. This software forms a backdoor and hacks personal information, IP address, Password, etc. But they don’t self-replicate like other viruses.

Worms – worms generally spread through malicious email attachments and as soon as the email is opened the virus is activated. They don’t attach with the main file but they spread across networks and computers and disrupts the system. Worms send its copy to every contact present in the infected computer, through email.

Stealth viruses – these viruses infect the system’s functions and use these infected systems to hide. They create problems in the malware detecting software and so an infected file or area will be reported uninfected.

Other common types of Malware software are Macro viruses, File infectors, Polymorphic viruses, System or boot-record infectors, Adware and Spyware.

phishing and spear phishing attacks

Phishing threats are the type of threats that send emails to the victim’s computer. The emails send appears to be from trusted sources but they are sent with the motive of extracting personal and secretive information. The emails could have links to illicit websites which may dupe victims to download malicious contents or hand over important personal information.

Spear phishing is very hard to defend as they are targeted form of attacks. The hackers perform research on a lot of targets and fix one of them. Then such relevant messages are sent to the victim so that they seem to come from a trusted source. This is mainly done by email spoofing as its the easiest form.

Techniques to prevent such common types of hacking are:

Sandboxing – an email can be tested in a sandbox environment and check the email before viewing the email or clicking on the attachment. Sandboxing isolates a program or application from other programs.

Moving over the link – to check an email for malware just move the mouse cursor over the link in the email, but don’t click. Watch the URL and try to decipher it find out where it will lead. Critically think about the email and analyze. Even if the person is busy or there are other 100 emails to read, he must analyze an email for malicious contents.

password attacks

It is a very common type of hacking because passwords are commonly used to secure any information or account. Passwords make it possible to authenticate a system and bars unwanted users. Therefore if passwords are hacked then a lot of confidential information can be obtained. Common types of Password hacking are – “simply looking onto someone’s password”, “randomly guessing passwords” or

Social engineering – here a hacker simply pretends to an IT tech security expert and calls the target asking for the password. It is astonishing to know that 17% of the employees fall into this trap –according to betanews report 3 months back.

Dictionary attack – this common type of hacking uses a dictionary of common passwords [used by people commonly], to unlock accounts or get access to the victim’s computers.

Brute-force – this is a special type of dictionary attack where the hacker uses alphanumeric combinations to guess passwords.

In order to defend password threats, users should use account lockout policies. In this policy, the account will get locked after a few invalid password attempts.

cookie theft

Personal data, passwords, usernames of different online accounts and browsing history of different websites accessed are saved in cookies of the browser. Hackers get access to the passwords and usernames by sidejacking or session hijacking. Here the victim’s IP packets through the hacker’s system. Unencrypted online sessions are targeted for this purpose. Cookie theft generally occurs when users visit sites using an unprotected online network or Wi-Fi.

SQL Attack

SQL is a programming language used in databases. SQL helps to manage data in databases of websites. SQL injection attack targets those servers and sends malicious codes to extract important information from the server. It commonly occurs when a malware runs SQL commands into the database through the data input from the clients. SQL queries are inserted [to login instead of passwords] so that predefined SQL commands can be executed. SQL injection can read confidential personal information or modify data in the database.

To prevent systems from SQL injection attacks validate all input so that dangerous characters are not passed through a SQL query.

DOS AND DDOS ATTACK

In the Denial of Service attack, the system is infected in such a way that it will not respond to service requests. DDoS is a similar type of hacking attack but the only difference is that the attack is initiated from a large number of already infected machines. These infected machines are basically controlled from the hacker’s base.

The attack only creates malfunctioning in the victim’s system and creates problem while servicing. These attacks and usually launched by business rivals and provides huge benefit just by disrupting a competitor’s system. Another purpose of DoS or DDoS attack involves taking down the system offline and launching different types of attacks.

Different types of DoS and DDoS attacks are TCP SYN flood attacks, botnets, ping of death attacks and smurf attack.

DRIVE BY DOWNLOAD ATTACKS

These types of attacks are very common hacking process used for spreading malicious contents. Hackers research to find out unprotected and insecure websites and apply malware scripts into the Hypertext Preprocessor [PHP] or into the Hypertext Transfer Protocol [HTTP] code on any of the pages. As soon as the victim visits the site the malware gets directly installed into the computer’s system or will redirect the victim to another site that is being controlled by the hacker. Drive-by download usually takes help of an operating system or an app or a website browser which contain security flaws and lack of preventive measures. Security flaws generally occur due to lack of updates or incomplete anti-virus software updates. Unlike other common types of hacking attacks, Drive-by download doesn’t require the user to download malware software or click on a harmful link inside an email, to let viruses into the system. Malware can enter by just entering an infected website or viewing an malicious email or through a pop-up window.

To prevent Drive-by downloads users should keep the network system updated and regularly update anti-viruses. Avoid visiting unknown and suspected sites.

MITM ATTACK

MitM is a specialized process of attack where the hacker enters between the conversations of users and their network providers. It is very common hacking technique being used presently. The hacker inserts itself between the trusted communication of a network server and the client and hijacks the session.

The process happens in the following manner:

  • There is a communication going on in between a client and its server.
  • The attacker enters into this session and targets the client’s system and controls it.
  • Due to the action of the attacker, the client loses connection with the server.
  • The hacker replaces the customer’s IP address with its own IP address.
  • The conversation continues as the server thinks that he is still passing on information to the client. Hence, the hacker gets all the information.

Encryption and digital certificates are the only ways to MitM attacks. Though encryptions always don’t work, they can be broken too.

XSS ATTACK

In this very common type of hacking the attacker uses a web resource from a third party and injects payloads containing malicious Javascripts into the database of a website. When the victim opens the website and tries to visit a page in the website then the page opens with the malicious contents inserted by the attacker. The malicious script enters the system and may send cookies from the victim’s computer to the attacker or steal log keystrokes or collect network information. After extracting the victim’s cookie the hacker uses it for session hijacking.

In order to prevent XSS attacks, the user inputs should be sanitized. Developers can clean the data inserted by users in an HTTP request before it is reflected back to the users. Sanitizing is a useful process but escaping and validating user input should also be done. Users must learn them to prevent cross-site scripting.

EAVES DROPPING ATTACK

Eavesdropping is the common hacking process of monitoring a system by intercepting the network traffic. The common hacking technique is used to just extract sensitive information like passwords, credit card numbers, bank account numbers, etc. Eavesdropping is generally of two types – passive and active. In case of active eavesdropping, the hacker pretends as a trusted client and sends queries to servers. While in passive eavesdropping the hacker gets information by listening to the message transmitted.

End to end encryption helps to protect from such hacking.

VPN to countermeasure hacking

In order to prevent the common hacking typed VPNs or Virtual Private Networks could be used. Lime VPN is a very good VPN service that will keep a user completely anonymous online. LimeVPNservices hide the real identity of the user and use a different IP address [different from the user’s origins IP] to dupe websites or hackers. LimeVPN is the cheapest VPN service in the market with just $1 per month. The customer service includes experienced IT professionals who provide 24*7 human support for any kind of queries. It is difficult to find cheap and reliable VPNs together but LimeVPN develops their own software and manages their servers on their own. They are completely reliable and provide end-to-end military level encryption. Hence, they are cheap and reliable too. LimeVPN lets users enjoy unlimited bandwidth and unlimited worldwide location. The VPN service comes with a speed of up to 10Gbps, without any throttle in the internet connection. Therefore, LimeVPN is reliable and cheap too. LimeVPN is the best VPN in the market and helps to prevent any common type of hacking attack very effectively. VPNs are very useful to unblock websites, maintain secrecy and prevent the computer system from any kind of hacking threat.

Conclusion

These were the common hacking types generally used by present-day hackers. There are anti-viruses, VPN [Like LimeVPN] and proxy servers [from Limeproxies] to protect systems from such common hacks. Basically, users should be alert and keep the security systems up to date to prevent online attacks.

A Complete gamer and a Tech Geek. Brings out all her thoughts and Love in Writing Techie blogs.