Types of cyber attacks: What they are and how to stop them
Insights 7 minutes read

Types of cyber attacks: What they are and how to stop them

Published on
June 28, 2024

In today’s digital landscape, cyber attacks are an undeniable reality for businesses of all sizes. As technology continues to advance, so too do the tactics employed by cybercriminals. It’s essential for organisations to understand the various types of cyber threats they may encounter and to implement effective defenses against them.

According to the Verizon 2024 Data Breach Investigations Report (DBIR), several significant findings underscore the evolving nature of cyber threats:

Initial Access via Vulnerabilities: A notable 14% of breaches exploited vulnerabilities as the initial access point, marking a nearly threefold increase from the previous year.

Human Element in Breaches: A substantial 68% of breaches involved a non-malicious human element, such as falling victim to social engineering or making errors that compromised security.

Financially Motivated Incidents: Approximately 62% of financially motivated incidents featured ransomware or extortion schemes, resulting in a median financial loss of $46,000 per breach.

Involvement of Third Parties: Third parties or suppliers were implicated in 15% of breaches, revealing vulnerabilities in software supply chains, hosting partner infrastructures, or data custodians.

These statistics highlight the prevalence and impact of common cyber attacks like phishing, underscoring the critical need for organisations to understand and mitigate such threats in today’s digital environment.

What is a Cyber attack?

But first, let’s unpack a cyber attack, which refers to any malicious attempt to disrupt, damage, or gain unauthorised access to computer systems, networks, or data. These attacks can range from relatively simple phishing scams to sophisticated, targeted infiltrations aimed at stealing sensitive information, disrupting operations, or extorting ransom payments from businesses.

How to protect against Cyber attacks

If anything, protecting against cyber attacks requires a multi-layered approach that includes robust cybersecurity measures. For starters, businesses need a variety of services aimed at strengthening defenses, including advanced threat detection and response, along with comprehensive cloud management solutions to secure digital assets.

Is my business at risk for a Cyber attack?

Understanding your business’ susceptibility to cyber attacks is crucial. Having tailored cybersecurity assessments and consulting to identify vulnerabilities and mitigate risks is key, and ensures your business remains resilient against evolving threats.
For deeper insights, refer to our previous blog titled ‘Cyber Attacks – Signs your Business is Ripe for an Attack, and continue reading below for additional information.

Types of Cyber attacks

Here are some of the threats to be aware of: 

Malware Attack

Malware is malicious software designed to infiltrate or damage computer systems. Effective defenses include robust antivirus software and regular system updates.

Phishing Attack

Phishing involves tricking individuals into divulging sensitive information through deceptive emails or websites. Education and email filtering solutions are key defenses.

Password Attack

Password attacks exploit weak or stolen passwords to gain unauthorised access. Strong password policies and multi-factor authentication (MFA) can mitigate this risk.

Birthday Attack

This cryptographic attack exploits the probability theory behind the birthday paradox to compromise hash functions. This attack can be used to forge digital signatures, break authentication protocols, or undermine the security of cryptographic protocols relying on hash functions.

Eavesdropping Attack

Eavesdropping involves intercepting network communications to steal information. Encryption and secure communication protocols help prevent such attacks.

Cross-site Scripting (XSS) Attack

XSS attacks inject malicious scripts into websites viewed by other users, compromising their data. Web application firewalls and secure coding practices are essential defenses.

SQL Injection Attack

SQL injection exploits vulnerabilities in web applications to manipulate databases. Secure coding practices and regular security audits can prevent these attacks.

Trojan Horses

Trojan horses disguise themselves as legitimate software to infiltrate systems and steal data. Vigilant endpoint security and user education are critical defenses.

DNS Spoofing

DNS spoofing redirects web traffic to malicious websites. Implementing DNSSEC (DNS Security Extensions) and using reputable DNS servers mitigate this risk.


Cryptojacking involves hijacking computer resources to mine cryptocurrency without consent. Network monitoring and endpoint detection tools can detect and prevent cryptojacking.

Watering Hole Attack

In a watering hole attack, cybercriminals infect websites frequented by their target audience. Content security policies and regular website security audits help prevent these attacks.


Ransomware encrypts data and demands payment for decryption. Regular backups and endpoint protection are crucial defenses against ransomware attacks.

DDoS (Distributed Denial of Service) Attack

DDoS attacks overwhelm networks, servers, or websites with traffic to disrupt services. DDoS protection services and network traffic monitoring help mitigate these attacks.

How do I avoid a Cyber attack?

That’s a daunting list of attacks, so what can you do? Avoiding a cyber attack requires implementing proactive cybersecurity measures:

Educate Employees: Provide regular training on recognising phishing attempts, using strong passwords, and following security protocols.

Use Strong Authentication: Implement multi-factor authentication (MFA) wherever possible to add an extra layer of security.

Keep Software Updated: Regularly update operating systems, software, and applications to patch vulnerabilities.

Deploy Security Solutions: Utilise firewalls, antivirus software, email filtering, and intrusion detection systems to detect and prevent attacks.

Backup Data: Regularly backup critical data and store it securely to mitigate the impact of a ransomware attack or data loss.

Monitor and Audit: Continuously monitor networks for suspicious activity and conduct regular security audits to identify and address vulnerabilities.

What do I do after a Cyber attack?

Timing is important too. Responding promptly and effectively after a cyber attack is crucial:

Contain the Attack: Immediately isolate affected systems to prevent further damage. Disconnect compromised devices from the network.

Notify Relevant Parties: Inform your IT team, management, and possibly legal counsel. If personal data is compromised, comply with legal obligations to notify affected individuals.

Assess the Damage: Conduct a thorough investigation to determine the scope and impact of the attack. Identify the attack vector and how it occurred.

Restore Systems: Restore affected systems from backups once they are verified as clean. Implement improved security measures to prevent future incidents.

Communicate Transparently: Keep stakeholders informed about the incident, the steps taken to mitigate it, and any changes in security protocols to prevent recurrence.

Review and Improve: Conduct a post-incident review to identify lessons learned and improve incident response plans and cybersecurity defenses.

Failing to prepare is preparing to fail

It’s all about preparation. Failing to prepare adequately for cybersecurity threats can leave businesses vulnerable to devastating attacks. 

Experts advise implementing comprehensive cybersecurity solutions that include managed security services, cybersecurity assessments, strategy consulting, and governance and compliance measures to mitigate risks effectively. 

Undoubtedly, it’s essential to proactively safeguard your digital assets and maintain resilience against evolving cyber threats.

Interactive’s Slipstream Cyber offerings, for example, coupled with its partnership with Microsoft Azure, provides comprehensive cybersecurity solutions tailored to your business needs. Services include managed security services, cybersecurity assessments, strategy consulting, and governance and compliance solutions.

Trusted Partner: Interactive can help

Don’t always try to do it alone – especially when there’s help out there.

Interactive, for its part, offers tailored cybersecurity assessments and consulting services to help you determine the most effective cybersecurity strategy for your business. 

What’s on offer? Managed Azure Sentinel, for example, provides advanced threat detection and response capabilities, leveraging Microsoft Azure’s powerful analytics to detect and mitigate threats in real-time. 

Azure Management, meanwhile, ensures secure cloud configurations and proactive monitoring of your digital assets, while Managed Security Services offer continuous monitoring and incident response to protect against evolving threats. 

For more details on how Interactive can safeguard your business against cyber threats, explore our services:

    • Managed Azure Sentinel
    • Azure Management
    • Managed Security Services
    • Cyber Security Assessment and Testing
    • Cyber Security Strategy and Consulting
    • Governance, Risk, and Compliance

By staying informed and proactive, businesses can effectively mitigate the risks posed by cyber attacks and protect their valuable assets and operations. For more insights, visit www.interactive.com.au

Featured insights

Insights 11 minutes read
Discover common data breaches in Australia and solutions. Learn how Microsoft Azure helps prevent them.
creative problem solving in cyber security
Insights 4 minutes read
Cybercrime evolves fast; we must innovate to combat it.
Insights 4 minutes read
Expert, Israel Huaccho, speaks to the importance of developing an APRA cyber plan that your Board understands.

Get in touch with our team

Search by industry
  • All
  • Automotive and Logistics
  • Consumer Packaged Goods
  • Corporate
  • Financial Services
  • FMCG
  • Government
  • Healthcare
  • IT, Data and Software
  • Manufacturing
  • Media and Entertainment
  • Philanthropy and Volunteer
  • Real Estate
  • Retail
  • Superannuation
  • Travel