News of a cyber attack seems to happen all the time. In fact, researchers estimate a hacker attacks every 39 seconds. Hackers commit cyber attacks for a variety of reasons, such as financial gain, data collection and brand damage. Approximately 76% of attacks are financially motivated, making it a lucrative business that rakes in millions of dollars. Attackers can target people from anywhere in the world and they’re hard to prosecute. Businesses are often targets but anyone can become a victim.

The types of cyber attacks are as varied as the reasons people commit them. Some of the most common ones are phishing and malware. Every cyber attack is different but there are a general set of steps that take place during a cyber attack.

Cybercrime Estimated Daily Activity
Malicious Scans 80 billion
New malware 300,000
Phishing 33,000
Ransomware 4,000
Records lost to hacking 780,000

Source: McAfee

Phases of a Cyber Attack

To best protect yourself from these attacks, it’s important to understand how they occur. Here are the phases of a cyber attack:

Reconnaissance: This is the first step hackers take to determine targets for their attack. They search for data on their target, such as who employees are and who they associate with. Hackers can easily find information on social media, LinkedIn or a company’s website. They also assess the security measures already in place and plan accordingly.

Arm and deliver: The hackers choose a method to attack the target, whether it’s through phishing, malware or something else. After choosing a method, they create the necessary material to carry out their attack. Then, they complete an initial breach of the network. For example, a hacker creates a phishing email and then sends it to their target.

Exploitation: Once the hackers have an established connection to the network, they try to spread and compromise more systems. As they gain more access throughout the network, they start to gather information like passwords or user accounts. They could also create viruses, like a Remote Access Trojan, to hide themselves and stay in your network over time.

Command and control: Once the hackers gain access to all accounts on the network, they can take control. They could access your network remotely, delete important files and shut you out of your business.

Action: Once hackers infiltrate your network, they are free to attack and complete their objectives.

Avoid Being a Target

Everyone is at risk for a cyber attack. Protect yourself by not sharing personal information online and only opening attachments from verified users or people you know. The surest way to protect yourself against a cyber attack is to already have security infrastructures in place, like Jolera’s Secure IT service.