Examples of Attacks

Cyber-attacks, for all their supposed mystery and mystique, are the same-old property and financial crimes using different tools. Because of the assumed anonymity of the internet, however, many are enticed into cybercrime, even the ones who would not dare to break into a house.

In general, cyber-attacks fall into one of three categories:

  1. The criminal and the victim know each other (e.g. current or former employee/spouse/partner…). The motivating factor is money and/or revenge, and the main distinguishing feature is that the perpetrator has or had access to the victim’s computer and able to prepare their attack in advance, plant malware and etc. In this category, cyber-spying also takes more of a role, via web cams, microphones, and keyloggers.
  2. The criminal and the victim have some sort of relationship or the victim is somehow known to the criminal (e.g. contact made via a social networking site or victim is famous / rich / owns something the criminal wants). The selection of the victim is not random, however, they typically have not met in person nor has the criminal had physical access to the victim’s computer. The motivation is financial gain.
  3. The criminal does not know the victim and the victim is merely the random individual ensnared by the criminal’s phishing scam or other similar technique. The sole motivation is financial gain.

On this page we discuss some of the common and not-so-common ways hackers break in. What these techniques have in common is the element of communications. Electronic communications are efficient, but also the Achilles heel by which the cyber attack and/or theft is most easily discovered. It is this feature that gives network surveillance (i.e. packet capture) its importance in cybersecurity.

Report: Marketing Cybercrime to Infect America