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Mimecast: Understanding the Most Common Types of Cyberattacks

NEW YORK – October 8, 2021 – (

There are several different types of cyberattacks created to breach and interrupt private networks and systems. An organization’s security is only as strong as its weakest link, so it’s important to train workforces on preventing possible attacks. Understanding a company’s critical vulnerabilities allows for the most effective security awareness training, tech stack modifications and protocols to be put in place. 

The 5 Most Common Cyberattacks

Although there are several different types of cyberattacks, understanding the most common types can help combat and prevent potential threats. 

1. Social Engineering Attacks & Phishing Emails

Phishing emails and socially engineered cyberattacks are the most common form of cyber threats. A phishing attempt can involve sending emails constructed to seem genuine and trustworthy to gain personal information or release vicious malware. This is one of the easiest and most common ways to infiltrate a system, and according to a report from PhishMe, 91% of cyberattacks begin with a phishing email. 

2. Password & Credential Theft

Weak or common passwords are also a very common weak point for breaches. One of the most basic ways of helping secure an organization is by ensuring the entire company uses strong passwords. A bad actor can use a variety of password hunting techniques such as common weak passwords lists, using previously uncovered passwords (as many people fall into the bad habit of using one password in multiple places), or by using sophisticated methods of password and credentials hacking.

That’s why it’s always recommended to create unique passwords for each login, to change password regularly, and to exclude personal identifying information such as birthdays or names from passwords, in order to provide maximum security. 

3. Denial of Services Attacks (DoS)

Denial of Services cyberattacks damage companies by overflowing web servers with requests, resulting in a halt in the user’s connection. Ultimately, this can cause websites to be shut down, customers disappointed, data lost, and potential reputation damage. Having an IT team equipped to catch abnormal traffic when it happens is key to mitigating DoS attacks.

4. Man-in-the-Middle (MitM)

Man-in-the-middle attacks occur when a hacker positions themselves between two hosts, essentially eavesdropping on what is thought to be a secure connection. The MitM can disguise itself as one or both of the people speaking with the ability to change messages and plant requests from a seemingly genuine source. MitM cyberattacks are difficult to detect, but can be prevented by training employees to maintain security protocols when it comes to phishing emails and WiFi security.

5. SQL Injections 

Structured Query Language (SQL) injections occur when a vicious code is implanted into an SQL database. Once the code has been released, it can easily read, change, or delete a company’s data. Some SQL injection attacks can result in a database shutdown and complete loss of control of the operating system. 

Preventing Cyberattacks 

Preventing cyberattacks begins with training a workforce on common types of cyberattacks. Security awareness training that gives employees a basic understanding of cybersecurity, such as creating strong passwords, avoiding phishing emails, and using a VPN for additional layers of protection, can help prevent even sophisticated cyberattackers from getting an easy foothold into a system.



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Mimecast: Understanding the Most Common Types of Cyberattacks

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