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5 Min Read

What is a cyber attack? A guide for effective defense strategies

agosto 21, 2023 / Unisys Corporation

Short on time? Read the key takeaways:  

  • Cyber attacks are an escalating threat in our digital age, and they can target any individuals, groups, or organizations using methods such as malware, phishing, ransomware, and man-in-the-middle attacks.
  •  Understanding the different types of cyber attacks, including malware, phishing, man-in-the-middle attacks, denial-of-service attacks, SQL injection, zero-day exploits, and DNS tunneling, is essential for businesses to recognize and respond to potential threats.
  • Employing preventive strategies such as using multi-factor authentication, creating robust internal controls, managing third-party security, educating employees about cyber threats, maintaining regular data backups, keeping systems updated, and installing antivirus software and firewalls, can significantly bolster a business’ defense against cyber attacks.
  • Vigilance and continuous education in the evolving landscape of cyber threats and implementing the right security measures can help organizationssafeguard their digital assets.

In the evolving digital world, cyber attacks have become an alarming concern.

A cyber attack is an attempt to disable computers, steal data, or use a breached computer system to launch additional attacks, employing methods like malware, phishing, ransomware, or a man-in-the-middle attack. This blog post thoroughly explains cyber attacks and outlines seven key strategies that organizations can employ for protection.

Decoding different types of cyber attacks

  • Malware: This is malicious software, including spyware, ransomware, viruses, and worms, that breaches a network through a vulnerability, typically installed through a risky link or email attachment.
  • Phishing: A method of sending fraudulent communications that appear from a reputable source, phishing aims to steal sensitive data or install malware on the victim’s machine.
  • Man-in-the-middle (MitM) attack: Attackers insert themselves into a two-party transaction, intercepting the traffic to filter and steal data.
  • Denial-of-service attack: These attacks fill systems, servers, or networks with traffic that exhaust resources and bandwidth, making the system incapable of fulfilling legitimate requests.
  • SQL injection: This occurs when an attacker inserts malicious code into a server that uses SQL, forcing the server to reveal information it normally would not.
  • Zero-day exploit: This attack hits after a network vulnerability is announced but before a patch or solution is implemented.
  • DNS tunneling: Malicious reasons for using DNS Tunneling VPN services include disguising outbound traffic as DNS and concealing data that is typically shared through an internet connection.

Understanding what happens during a cyber attack

The intent behind cyber attacks might be to inflict reputational damage or harm to a business or person or theft of valuable data. These attacks can target individuals, groups, organizations, or governments. However, several strategies can be employed for prevention.

Ways to prevent cyber attacks 

Here are seven key strategies organizations can employ to minimize the threat cyber attacks pose: 
  1. Use multi-factor authentication: Ensuring multi-factor authentication for all internet-accessing applications in an organization heightens security, making unauthorized access difficult.
  2. Create robust internal controls: Revoking system access for employees, contractors, and vendors who leave the organization ensures greater security and prevents potential problems in the future.
  3. Manage third-party security: Tight security controls, identifying potential cyber threats, and network monitoring are crucial to ensure system security when vendors or third parties access organizational systems.
  4. Educate organizational employees: Regular cybersecurity awareness training and education about phishing can significantly improve business security.
  5. Create data backups: Regular backups of important business data can keep a business strong and prepared for worst-case scenarios.
  6. Keep entire systems updated: Running the latest software and systems keeps data more secure and guards against potential security threats.
  7.  Install antivirus software and a firewall: Protect your systems from security breaches by regularly updating and maintaining antivirus software and firewalls.
As cyber threats evolve, it becomes crucial for organizations to understand and prepare for these digital dangers. By employing these key strategies, you can fortify your cybersecurity defenses and safeguard digital assets. Remember, vigilance and preparation are your best defense in the digital world. Stay safe and secure in the digital space.

How Unisys can help

Unisys is a trusted partner for managing your global security risks leveraging our experienced strategic security consultants to align your business and technology to processes, tools and techniques to your organization’s tolerance for risk while systemically moving to a more efficient security program.
As part of our Security Consulting Services, we work with you to architect a security program that enables your organization to reduce the attack surface to the accepted risk level, maintain efficiencies, meet regulatory mandates and manage security over your global supply chain.

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