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Types of Cyber Attacks – Baiting, Malware, Phishing & More

Jan 23, 2023

A cyber attack is any action that targets a computer or a network to change, destroy, steal or compromise data.

To help you understand the importance of cybersecurity, in this post we’ll list some of the most common forms of cyber attacks.

We’ll also explore some ways you can protect yourself against cybercrime. Though common sense is an excellent line of defence, some cyber attacks can strike without warning. So for thorough protection, consider investing in business cyber insurance, to ensure you’ll be able to recover from the devastating effects of a cyber attack.

Common Types of Cyber Attack

Denial of Service (DoS & DDoS)

What is a Denial of Service (DoS/DDos) Attack?

With a denial of service (DoS) or distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack, a cybercriminal will attempt to overwhelm your systems. They’ll do this through flooding your site with more access requests than it can handle, which can force a complete shutdown.

Obviously, you want your site to stay online, and for it to be functional for anyone who wants to use it. But often, DoS and DDoS attacks will simply act as a temporary inconvenience. They’ll interrupt your operations, but you should be able to recover eventually.

However, DoS and DDoS attacks can also make your site vulnerable to other types of cyber attacks. So while they’re sometimes a temporary headache, they may also mark the start of something more serious.

How to Prevent Denial of Service Attacks

Adding a firewall to your site can protect you against DoS and DDoS attacks. Some firewalls can automatically tell if a site access request is real, so they can allow authentic traffic through while preventing the fake traffic that’s only designed to overwhelm your systems.

Phishing Attacks

What is a Phishing Attack?

With a phishing attack, a cyber criminal will send a message – via email, text, or an app such as WhatsApp – that seems to come from a trusted source, such as a bank or a shopping site.

The message will usually say that something’s gone wrong with the individual’s account, or that there’s a problem with an order. There’ll either be a link to follow to find out more, or there’ll be a direct request to share sensitive personal information.

Falling victim to a phishing scam leaves you vulnerable to malware and viruses, and even to identity theft. And unfortunately, cyber criminals are now so skilled that they can create fake messages that look almost identical to the real thing.

How to Prevent Phishing Attacks

It’s too easy to be caught unawares by a phishing scam. The only recourse is to be as vigilant as possible. Take extreme care when following links from emails. And remember that banks will never ask you for sensitive information via email, or over the phone.


What is a Ransomware Attack?

With a ransomware attack, a cyber criminal will remotely lock your computer, and keep it locked until you send them money – a ransom payment.

If you don’t pay the ransom? Then in the best case scenario, you’ll simply lose access to your data. But in the worst case scenario, the cyber criminal will make your data public. So you’ll then have to deal with all the financial, reputational, and regulatory damages that follow a data breach.

You might accidentally download ransomware to your computer through opening a dodgy email attachment, or through navigating to an inauthentic site via a phishing email scam (see above). And unfortunately, some ransomware files can avoid detection from antivirus scans.

How to Prevent Ransomware Attacks

Extreme vigilance is the strongest weapon against ransomware attacks. Be very careful which sites you visit, which links you follow, and which emails you open.

Baiting Attacks

What is a Baiting Attack?

Like phishing, baiting is a type of social engineering attack in which cyber criminals will exploit your fear, curiosity or uncertainty. They might offer you something enticing to trick you into sharing your sensitive personal data, such as your password, or even your bank details.

So what might cyber criminals use as “bait”? It might be something as simple as a site that claims to offer free film downloads, or free access to streaming platforms. Or it might be a scheme that claims it will give you money if you complete a short online survey, for example.

But a baiting attack doesn’t have to take place online. A cyber criminal might leave a USB stick in a public place, with a tempting label on it such as “employee payroll figures”. If you put this USB stick into your computer, it will install some malware on your system, leaving you vulnerable to other forms of cybercrime.

How to Prevent Baiting Attacks

One general rule of thumb to bear in mind – if something seems too good to be true, then it probably is. So if you ever see an online offer that seems a little too generous, then take care – it just might be a baiting attack.

Keep You and Your Business Safe From Cybercrime in 2023 and Beyond

Unfortunately, cyber criminals are getting smarter all the time. Vigilance and common sense may no longer be enough. You must now take active steps to protect yourself from the risks of cybercrime.

Read our guide to the cybercrime trends we expect to see in 2023.

In the event of a data breach, cyber insurance will cover your business’s liability as well as your ability to manage the impact on both your systems and finances.

If you have any questions about business insurance, or if you want to discuss whether cyber insurance is right for you, we have a team of experts ready to help. Call us on 0208 290 9080 or email us at cyber@anthonyjones.com.


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020 8290 4560

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