Cyberattacks are clear and present risks to businesses, governments, and individuals worldwide. The motivation behind these attacks has become more varied over the last few decades. They can be classified as malicious or non-malicious, depending on the method and intention of the attackers.
Cyberattacks usually cause great harm to the business, while in non-malicious attacks, there is no need to install malware to infect the victim’s computer systems. That means the operations are mostly based on the existing vulnerabilities. Let's first dive into malicious cyberattacks.
Malicious cyber attacks
These attacks are built around the efficient exploitation of all existing vulnerabilities. To some extent, the organization may take years to recover. In this case, the security teams are always at a disadvantage as they must constantly defend all possible entries.
The type of attack depends on the interest that the hackers have in your company. BEC attacks are common for businesses that conduct wire transfers and have suppliers in different countries. Cybercriminals carry out their activities with a lot of coordination worldwide. They may use different networks to connect with your organization's network, and you may never detect what's happening. Some of the common types of malicious attacks include the following.
Malware means malicious software designed to exploit devices at the expense of the user and to the attacker's benefit. There are various types of malware that fraudsters can use to target your business. These types of malware use evasion and obfuscation techniques to fool even security experts. Common types of malware include ransomware, trojans, and spyware.
Ensuring protection against all these malware is a vital step to developing a consistent business. You will not experience constant attacks like any other business that’s not secured. Ransomware will encrypt the data and demand a fee to release the decryption key. Trojan horses appear harmless when downloaded, while they are very dangerous. On the other hand, the spyware monitors the company's internet connectivity.
Here, the attacker masquerades as a reputable entity like a tax department, person in email, or bank to distribute links that trick the unsuspecting victim. The victim is tricked into invaluable information like passwords, credit card details, or intellectual property.
With spear phishing, the threats are directed at specific individuals or companies, while on the other hand, whaling threats target senior executives within the company.
This is an acronym for distributed denial-of-service. It's an attack in which multiple compromised computer systems are used to hack a target like a server or a website to deny users service for the targeted resource. In this case, the hackers direct lots of messages, connection requests, or any other type of malformed packets to the target to force it to slow down.
Sometimes the flooding of the incoming messages causes the system to shut down or crash and hence denies service to the legitimate users of the system. With AI, fraudsters are harnessing more knowledge to help themselves work best and direct botnets effectively to the target.
SQL injection attacks
Any website that's data-driven is likely to experience injection threats. This is a request for some action to be performed on a database. It's usually carried out via a carefully constructed request that modifies and deletes the stored data on the database.
This is an attack that affects most organizations that rely on email marketing. That's why it's vital to ensure that you have advanced email security. You should focus on creating a separate email that you can share on different social media platforms for your campaigns.
On the other hand, there are still non-malicious attacks in which the malicious code has no body in the file system. These types of attacks rarely install any software on the victim's machine. They are usually carried out with the help of traditional software.
The idea behind a malicious attack is pretty simple. Instead of using tools that can quickly be flagged as malware, the attackers use tools already on the device. Then, these tools take over legitimate system processes and run the malicious code in the system's memory. Most of the non-malicious attacks usually follow the living on the land approach.
How non-malicious attack happens
The first step is for the user to open the door to the infected email or visit the infected page. Without this step, it will be very challenging for the attacker to infiltrate the organization's computer systems.
What follows is scanning the computer by exploit kit for any vulnerabilities. If any of them is found, the hackers will use them to insert code into the system administration tools. The last step is running the payload in the available DLL by fireless malware.
Why non-malicious attacks are dangerous
One of the main challenges posed by these is that they don't have any sign that the anti-malware software can use to detect them. Most of them are fileless. Terminate-stay-resident is an excellent example of a fileless malware virus that is very difficult to be deleted once the file is loaded into the memory.
These malware target vulnerabilities in scripts to execute their kill chain processes. Others use the EternalBlue exploit to attack the company's system to enable the installation of malware in the system's memory.
Common types of non-malicious attacks
There are four main types of non-malicious attacks. The dual-use tool is a common type of this attack. In this case, the existing system tools are used for malicious purposes. For the fileless persistence method, the code continues to run even after the system reboot.
The other type of non-malicious attack is the memory-only threat. In this case, the attacker executes the payload in the memory by exploiting all the available vulnerabilities. You can quickly get away with this malware through the reboot process. Lastly, non-portable executable file attacks use legitimate tools and applications to carry out the attack.
Both malicious and non-malicious attacks pose threats to the company's security. That's why necessary measures must be put into place to ensure that data is safe and can be shared without getting intercepted by fraudsters.