Top 10 most common types of cyber attacks

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Top 10 most common types of cyber attacks.


Let’s all agree that the year 2023 has been a rollercoaster ride. We have witnessed some dangerous cyberattacks that have brought the world on their toes.

Attacks like the one carried out in multiple countries by the notorious Russian group Clop called MOVEIt. It has impacted supply chain networks at large.

This year we have also witnessed some of the biggest data breaches like the T-Mobile one that impacted more than 37 million people worldwide.

We will look at some of the common cyber attacks of 2024.

What is a cyber attack and how it works?

A cyber attack is an attempt to intentionally steal, alter or destroy data sensitive to a business. It’s carried out with an intention that can either be monetary or political. It can also be for a cause. Many cyber attackers are hacktivists who do cyber attacks to raise awareness for societal or political reasons.

The nature and gravity of a cyber attack is dependent on the nature and cause of a cyber attacker. For example, while some cyber criminals may spend a lot of time on an attack targeting a big business, others may spend considerably less time targeting a small business. Others may target government or social institutions for the cause of political agenda or social or environmental cause.

Now let us explore some of the common cyber attacks of all time.

Top 10 most common types of cyber attacks

Top 10 most common types of cyber attacks

1. Phishing attacks🎣

A phishing attack is like real-world fishing where the fisherman uses bait to lure the fish. In this, an attacker lures the users to a malicious site to extract their data using SMS, or email that seems from a legitimate source.

The following are different kinds of phishing attacks:

Spear phishing

Spear phishing is a cyber attack targeted specifically towards individuals in an organization using emails that seem legitimate but are meant to steal sensitive information that includes personal information such as credentials. They are also used to infect the target’s devices with malware.


As the name suggests whaling is usually highly targeted at big employees like C-level executives where the main aim of a cyber attacker is to infiltrate their system to steal their sensitive information such as credentials or company-specific information.

Business email compromise

Often confused with whaling, but one aspect where business email compromise differs from whaling is that a cybercriminal impersonates an authority figure and sends malicious mails to the other employees across different levels.


It is a form of phishing where cyber criminals send text messages targeted to a mass, tricking them of their sensitive data like passwords, usernames, and credit.


Vishing is phishing when done using phone calls and voice messages. Cybercriminals often pose as a recognized organization to convince their targets that they are getting calls from genuine people asking them to give out their personal and financial information.

Last year phishing affected more than 300 thousand people worldwide.

Learn how to secure your business from Phishing Attacks 

2. APT (Advanced Persistent Threats) ⚠️

It is a form of cyber attack where the attacker tries to gain access to the network. Once he gains access, he keeps maintaining access, being undetected for a long time.

During that time, the cyber attacker will continuously collect information, intercepting and monitoring the network, looking for loopholes in security or sensitive information to steal.

APT attackers may also go as far as engaging in network outages and orchestrating denial-of-service attacks. APT attacks are often used in state-sponsored cyber attacks to disrupt intelligence operations for competitive advantages.

Some common attack vectors for APT attacks include ransomware attacks, social engineering-based attacks such as phishing, business email compromise attacks, and supply chain attacks.

3. Malware attacks 🦠

A cyber attack is where cybercriminals inject the target’s device with malicious and potentially lethal software to extract all of their sensitive data without them having any clue about it. One of the most popular types of malware includes spyware, viruses, ransomware, and Trojans. What makes malware dangerous is that it can be injected in any operating system and on any device depending on the purpose for which they are designed.

The following are the different types of malware commonly used by cybercriminals to steal sensitive information from devices:

  • Ransomware 
  • Viruses
  • Rootkits
  • Spyware
  • Worms 
  • Adware
  • Keylogger
  • Botnet
  • Fileless malware
  • Mobile malware

4. Spoofing attacks 🎧 

Imagine someone disguised as someone trustworthy and stealing your most important assets. It is what cybercriminals do in a spoofing attack. They disguise themselves as legitimate users of the network to orchestrate the cyberattack. It is why spoofing attacks are more dangerous because of how well they blend in as a trustworthy person in the organization. Cyber attackers who engage in spoofing attacks engage in reconnaissance to collect valuable information on the cyber defenses of an organization to orchestrate a more dangerous attack next time. 

Some of the common forms of spoofing attacks are as follows 

  • APF (Address Resolution Protocol) attack 
  • IP Spoofing attack 
  • MAC spoofing attack
  • Email spoofing attack 
  • DNS spoofing attack

5. DDoS attacks 🛢️ 

One of the simplest ways to explain this attack is through a parking space. Imagine if someone keeps forcing more cars into the parking space than its capacity.  

It is how it happens in denial-of-service attacks. In a typical DoS attack, cyber attackers clog the network with unauthorized requests to the network, ultimately disrupting business operations at large. In a DoS attack, users of the affected network can’t perform daily tasks. They are unable to access emails and accounts. The primary objective of a DoS attack is not ransom but disruption of operations.

One of the main differences between a DDoS attack and a DoS attack is that in DDoS attacks, multiple systems are involved in the launch of the attack. Whereas in a DoS attack, there is just one system through which the attack is.

6. Supply chain attacks 🚚

It is a cyber-attack where an attacker often seeks to exploit the weak security measures deployed by third parties or suppliers associated with a business in their services, software, and hardware associated with an organization. It bypasses the security of all the associated suppliers and third parties to steal their most sensitive data and information assets. What makes a supply chain attack dangerous is that it can have a cascading effect affecting a multitude of systems.

7. Ransomware attacks💱 

It is one of the most common cyber attacks that affect hundreds of organizations worldwide. In this, a cyber attacker uses malware to lock out and encrypt the victim’s most critical files and information assets that the cyber attacker gets his hands on.

 A cyber attacker may also use social engineering techniques to direct the admin users to download the ransomware that may lock up all their sensitive data in exchange for a ransom.

Once all the sensitive data is locked up,  a digital ransom note displays on the screen demanding ransom. Many victims can’t recover their data completely, even after paying the ransom.

How to secure your business from ransomware attacks

8. Insider threats 🧑‍💼

One of the dangerous forms of cyber attacks is insider threats. It is highly unpredictable. It is a cyber attack where a person belonging to the organization uses access and privileges to orchestrate an attack in an organization.

Personnel belonging to an organization may use the ease of access to data, information, and authorizations to further engage in planning and executing an attack. It happens in both large corporate organizations and government organizations due to personal vendetta or a cause. In government organizations, to steal national secrets, relay critical intelligence, etc. The following are some of the common forms of insider threats.


Some individuals may deliberately and intentionally engage in the misusing of their level of authorization and access to an organization’s resources to orchestrate a cyber attack. They often carefully disable the cyber defenses at their level to make way for a far more dangerous attack. Some common forms of intentional insider threats include espionage, terrorism, ransomware attack, and malware attack.


Another cybersecurity threat is an insider threat caused by a negligent employee of an organization. Being negligent about cybersecurity, and failing to comply with routine cybersecurity tasks can unintendedly create security vulnerabilities that can be exploited by cybercriminals to orchestrate an attack. 

9. Cross scripting attacks ❎

It is an attack where clickbait content to lure victims to a seemingly genuine site with malicious scripts. These attacks are carried out through a web application where an attacker sends malicious scripts to a website after exploiting the website’s security vulnerabilities.  

Cyber attackers can use XCC (cross-site scripting) to engage in multiple malicious activities, including – malware injection, and phishing of user credentials and other financial or personal information.

They can hijack user accounts, perform unauthorized actions, steal sensitive information, and steal. In this, the attacker first deploys techniques to steal the identities of authorized users over websites, networks, or computer systems.

Once they obtain the credentials, they further engage in phishing, credential stuffing, man-in-the-middle attacks, password spraying, and pass-the-hash attacks. Cybercriminals engage in identity-based attacks to steal sensitive information, money, etc.

These cyberattacks are the hardest to detect because this cyber criminal disguises himself as an authorized user to engage in malicious activities.

10. Identity-based attacks ❎

In this, the attacker first deploys techniques to steal the identities of authorized users over websites, networks, or computer systems. Once they obtain the credentials, they further engage in phishing, credential stuffing, man-in-the-middle attacks, password spraying, and pass-the-hash attacks. Cybercriminals engage in identity-based attacks to steal sensitive information, money, etc.

These cyberattacks are the hardest to detect because this cyber criminal disguises himself as an authorized user to engage in malicious activities.

The following are the types of identity-based attacks:

Man-in-the-middle attacks

As the name suggests, this is a form of identity theft where cyber attackers place themselves in the middle of communication channels. Then they engage in the stealing of information or replacement of the information in transit to orchestrate phishing attacks or steal information. 

Pass-the hash-attack

In this a cybercriminal engages in extracting a hash blueprint of the victim’s password by altering the New Technology LAN manager protocol. Using this password hash the cyber attacker can gain access to the victim’s account to steal all the sensitive information. 

Silver ticket attack

A ticket is when a network server creates a number as authentication/authorization. An attacker may forge this ticket for a security bypass to steal the account password. A similar type of attack is Kerberoasting. In it,  Microsoft Active Directory user accounts are hacked by exploiting Kerberos vulnerability.

Credential stuffing

As the name suggests, credential stuffing is when an attacker uses the bulk of usernames and passwords and uses them to gain access to victims’ accounts. These usernames and passwords are often obtained from the dark web or via a data breach.

Brute force attacks

It is a traditional technique used by hackers to crack passwords by using trial and error methods to decode them. There is no strategy involved in this. The attacker only uses different combinations of passwords until he cracks the password.

Why do you need SharkStriker’s incident response?

When a fire breaks out in your apartment, you don’t call the police, you call the fire department since they possess the right people, the right tools to control damage, and contain the fire and stop it from spreading. Similarly, incident response service is just like fire fighting. The only difference here is that there is a cyber attack. 

SharkStriker provides a dedicated team of incident responders who work round the clock to provide much-needed support for cyberattacks to help you control the damage, recover your information assets, and remediate your IT infrastructure. 

With SharkStriker, you can create a step-by-step plan that defines the roles and responsibilities of the key personnel in your company to achieve compliance and incident response.

The following benefits are why you should consider SharkStriker’s incident response service:

  • Round-the-clock support for incident response: You get a team of dedicated incident responders who work 24×7 to keep your infrastructure secure from cyber threats. 
  • Unlimited full-cycle incident response for most kinds of cyber threats – we cover most of the cyber attacks under our service
  • Full-cycle incident response – means that we don’t stop our service until your organization is fully remediated from the aftereffects of a cyber attack.
  • Proactive defense:  We identify and implement a proactive cyber defense strategy for your organization such that you don’t face disruption from any cyber attack.
  • Periodic posture assessment: In addition to our incident response services we also engage in CIS-based posture assessment that ensure that your cybersecurity posture is up to the latest emerging threats of today and tomorrow and you remain compliant with all the local and global compliance standards. 

Holistic security delivered:  Whether you are a business owner or a small or medium-sized business, we will provide you with the incident response service since we believe in offering holistic enterprise-grade security to all regardless of their size.


One of the primary factors behind most attacks is a lack of human awareness that limits businesses in configuring their solutions for proactively detecting and preventing attacks. Therefore, every organization must take steps to bridge awareness gaps.

We have seen some of the common cyber attacks that are affecting businesses worldwide. We have also explored what cyberattacks are and how they can differ depending on the cyberattacker and their motivations and intentions. We have explored possible solutions to prevent becoming a victim of such attacks and how SharkStriker can help you stay safe from cyberattacks with their 24×7 incident response service.


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