7 Devastating Security Attacks and How to Protect Against Them

There are several devastating security attacks that you can encounter. Understanding the basic techniques used by hackers will help you understand and prevent a data breach.These attacks impacted both small and large organizations, and caused billions of dollars in damages. These attacks were a result of vulnerabilities in software and hardware. Learn more about these common types of attacks and how to protect yourself from them. 

1. SQL injection

If you’re a database administrator, then SQL injection is a serious threat for your business. An attacker can easily impersonate the user of the database to gain access to sensitive information in the database. By injecting code into the database, an attacker can alter existing data or insert new information. This can lead to a lot of chaos, especially in financial applications.

One of the best ways to protect your website from this type of attack is to use good security practices.

  • It is essential to use secure input validation. This includes using drop-down menus and radio buttons to validate user input. 
  • It is also critical to configure your web server’s error handling properly. Otherwise, cybercriminals can leverage error messages to fine-tune their queries for successful exploitation. 
  • Input filtering is another way to protect your website against SQLi attacks, but it does not solve the underlying vulnerability.
  • The best way to protect against SQL injection is to avoid using unvalidated input in your database. You can do this by using parameterized statements. 
  • You can also look through your application’s source code to ensure that the data access code uses parameters. If the database access code uses string concatenation with a database, you should replace it with a parameterized query. If you have time, you can also perform a complete rewrite of your application to remove any insecure code.

2. Cross-site scripting

XSS vulnerabilities are one of the most common problems affecting websites and web applications. They are triggered when untrusted data is entered into a web application without proper validation or escaping. An XSS attack takes advantage of an inherent vulnerability in a website and sends a script from an untrusted source to an unsuspecting browser. This malicious code can manipulate user interaction with an application and gain full control of its functionality and data. A website should implement security measures, such as encryption, when dealing with scripts.

  • You can prevent XSS attacks by writing secure code and testing for vulnerabilities. Moreover, you can use tools like Contrast to detect and report XSS vulnerabilities.
  • The best way to prevent XSS attacks is to implement consistent secure coding practices. A web application should follow guidelines set by Veracode and should always encrypt input to prevent malicious scripts from being loaded. 
  • Another way to protect against XSS attacks is by avoiding the use of HTML in inputs and using markdown or WYSIWYG editors to create rich content.
  • In order to prevent XSS attacks, you need to make sure that the JavaScript code is properly escaped in the form’s output. You should also ensure that any variable that is in the user interface is passed through the output encoding function. This is important because different browsers parse different types of data. 

3.Remote code execution

One of the worst security attacks today is remote code execution, which allows an attacker to take complete control of another machine. This technique enables the attacker to modify files, install new programs, disable defensive products, and even create keyloggers. Once the attacker has control of the machine, the attacker can use this information to perform illegal activities.To protect against this attack, companies must be proactive.

  • They must update their network and web applications regularly, which can help reduce the risk of remote code execution. 
  • They should also perform vulnerability analysis regularly to make sure their systems are secure. A single breach can lead to massive losses for a company, so preventing an attack is crucial.
  • Remote code execution attacks can be devastating and can be easily prevented by deploying a patch on your system. 

4. Man-in-the-Middle

Man-in-the-Middle (MITM) security attacks are a common type of cyberattack that aims to intercept important data as it travels between two parties. This can happen in many ways, including eavesdropping on messages, sending fake emails, accessing private accounts, and even pushing data to another malicious party. These attacks are particularly dangerous because they give cybercriminals access to sensitive information.

To protect your network from these attacks, it is important to adopt a preventive mindset. 

  • You can detect the signs of a breach by running intrusion detection systems and monitoring network traffic patterns. 
  • Always implement a strong firewall.
  • While there are many ways to prevent a Man-in-the-Middle attack, the best way to avoid it is to make sure that you use a secure VPN connection. A secure browser will display a lock symbol next to the URL, while a secure website has a “https” prefix. If you want to check whether data is being leaked, you can run an IPV6 leak test for further security.

5. Phishing

Phishing is a malicious security attack that targets users by convincing them to provide personal information. These emails often contain malicious code and look like they are from a reputable source. They may include a link to a website or contact email address. Phishing attacks are often difficult to detect. The first stage of phishing attacks involves tricking a user to visit a fraudulent website. A malicious website may ask for information such as usernames or passwords to gain access to their account. 

  • Educating the employees regarding privacy will help in preventing this.
  • Verifying sensitive information through multiple channels will also prevent this attack.

6. Brute force

A brute force attack is one of the most common types of cyberattack. Brute force attack uses a simple password, either a leaked or publicly available password. These attackers can try to guess the password by using a rainbow hash table, a precomputed lookup table, and even try to guess usernames. This method requires a significant amount of effort and time.Luckily, there are ways to protect yourself against brute force attacks.

  • The first step in protecting against brute force attacks is to use two-factor authentication, which means that a user must enter another factor, such as a physical USB key or fingerprint biometrics. 
  • Another step is to limit login attempts. Limiting them to three makes it impossible for hackers to try your passwords over again.

7. Denial of service

Denial of service attacks can be very disruptive to operations and should be treated as a serious security incident.DoS attacks may involve using bugs or exploiting vulnerabilities in the target. These attacks can have devastating consequences and cause massive damages if they are not detected and prevented. However, modern security technologies have developed mechanisms to detect and block most DoS attacks. 

To prevent denial of service attacks, it is crucial to know what to look for. 

  • While low-volume DoS attacks are difficult to detect, experienced team members will be able to spot subtle signs. 
  • A good recovery plan is also a must. 

Typical DDoS attacks involve one or more of the following methods: ICMP flood, ACK flood, and Smurf attack. These attacks spoof the IP addresses of targeted servers. They send a large number of SYN packets and a forged source IP address, causing the targeted system to experience a massive amount of traffic.

The Bottom Line

Cybersecurity attacks are inevitable but they can be prevented by following techniques discussed above. Furthermore, continuously assess and improve your network’s security to prevent any security attack from happening. It can be devastating and can be difficult to assess.

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