Top 15 most common security attacks

The latest in the Data Breach Investigations Report series by Verizon Business security experts provide a look at the 15 most common security attacks and how they typically unfold.

The report identifies, ranks and profiles the most common attacks. For each type of attack, the report provides real-world scenarios, the warning signs, how the attack is orchestrated, how attackers got in, what information they took, what assets the attackers targeted, what industries are commonly affected, and what countermeasures are effective. In total, the report details nearly 150 ways to detect and combat security threats.

Top 15 most common security attacks

The 2009 Verizon Business Supplemental Data Breach Report identified and ranked by frequency the following top 15 types of attacks:

1. Keylogging and spyware: Malware specifically designed to covertly collect, monitor and log the actions of a system user.

2. Backdoor or command/control: Tools that provide remote access to or control of infected systems, or both, and are designed to run covertly.

3. SQL injection: An attack technique used to exploit how Web pages communicate with back-end databases.

4. Abuse of system access/privileges: Deliberate and malicious abuse of resources, access or privileges granted to an individual by an organization.

5. Unauthorized access via default credentials: Instances in which an attacker gains access to a system or device protected by standard preset (widely known) user names and passwords.

6. Violation of acceptable use and other policies: Accidental or purposeful disregard of acceptable use policies.

7. Unauthorized access via weak or misconfigured access control lists (ACLs): When ACLs are weak or misconfigured, attackers can access resources and perform actions not intended by the victim.

8. Packet sniffer: Monitors and captures data traversing a network.

9. Unauthorized access via stolen credentials: Instances in which an attacker gains access to a protected system or device using valid but stolen credentials.

10. Pretexting or social engineering: A social engineering technique in which the attacker invents a scenario to persuade, manipulate, or trick the target into performing an action or divulging information.

11. Authentication bypass: Circumvention of normal authentication mechanisms to gain unauthorized access to a system

12. Physical theft of asset: Physically stealing an asset.

13. Brute-force attack: An automated process of iterating through possible username/password combinations until one is successful.

14. RAM scraper: A fairly new form of malware designed to capture data from volatile memory (RAM) within a system.

15. Phishing (and endless “ishing” variations): A social engineering technique in which an attacker uses fraudulent electronic communications (usually e-mail) to lure the recipient into divulging information.




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