Common Acts That Violate Cyber Security: Cybersecurity Guides

By Team ABJ

Last Updated:

In today’s digital age, our online lives are at risk from common acts that breach cyber security. These actions, often carried out by cybercriminals, can lead to stolen data, financial losses, and even identity theft. But fear not! In this post, we’ll break down the common acts that violate cyber security into simple terms, helping you understand the risks and how to protect yourself. From phishing to malware, we’ll cover it all, so you can surf the web safely and securely. Let’s dive in!

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What is cyber security and why is it important?

Cybersecurity is like a digital shield that protects your computer, your data, and your online activities from bad people who want to do harm. It’s like having a lock on your front door to keep burglars out.

Here’s why cybersecurity is important:

1. Protection from Bad Guys: There are hackers and cybercriminals out there who want to steal your personal information, like your passwords or bank details, to do bad things. Cybersecurity stops them from doing that.

2. Privacy: Think of cybersecurity as curtains for your online life. It keeps your private stuff, well, private. Just like you wouldn’t want strangers looking through your windows, you don’t want them snooping on your online activities.

3. Safety: It’s like wearing a helmet while riding a bike. Cybersecurity makes sure you’re safe online, preventing things like viruses and scams that could hurt your computer or your wallet.

4. Business Security: For companies, it’s like protecting their secret recipes. Businesses have valuable information, and if it gets into the wrong hands, they could lose a lot of money and trust.

5. National Security: Even countries use cybersecurity to protect their important stuff. Just like they have an army to protect their borders, they have cybersecurity experts to guard their digital borders.

What are the different types of cyber-attacks?

There are various types of cyberattacks that target computer systems, networks, and individuals. Here are some of the most common types:

1. Malware Attacks:

  • Viruses: Malicious programs that attach themselves to legitimate files and replicate when the file is executed.
  • Worms: Self-replicating malware that spreads across networks without user intervention.
  • Trojans: Malware disguised as legitimate software to deceive users into installing them, often with harmful consequences.
  • Ransomware: Malware that encrypts a victim’s data and demands a ransom for the decryption key.
  • Spyware: Software that secretly gathers information about a user’s activities and transmits it to unauthorized third parties.

2. Phishing Attacks:

  • Email Phishing: Deceptive emails that trick recipients into revealing sensitive information or clicking on malicious links.
  • Spear Phishing: Highly targeted phishing attacks that focus on specific individuals or organizations.
  • Smishing: Phishing attacks are conducted via SMS or text messages.
  • Vishing: Phishing attacks conducted over voice calls.

3. Denial of Service (DoS) and Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) Attacks:

  • DoS Attack: Overwhelming a target system or network with excessive traffic to make it inaccessible.
  • DDoS Attack: Coordinating a network of compromised devices (botnet) to launch a massive DoS attack.

4. Man-in-the-Middle (MitM) Attacks: Intercepting communication between two parties to eavesdrop or manipulate data without their knowledge.

5. SQL Injection: Exploiting vulnerabilities in web applications to execute malicious SQL queries on a database.

6. Cross-Site Scripting (XSS): Injecting malicious scripts into websites or web applications that execute in the browsers of other users.

7. Zero-Day Exploits: Targeting vulnerabilities in software or hardware that are not yet known to the vendor or have no available patches.

8. Password Attacks:

  • Brute Force Attacks: Repeatedly trying all possible password combinations to gain unauthorized access.

9. Dictionary Attacks: Using a list of common passwords to guess the correct one.

Credential Stuffing: Using known username-password combinations obtained from other data breaches to gain unauthorized access.

10. Social Engineering Attacks: Manipulating individuals into revealing confidential information or performing actions that compromise security.

11. Advanced Persistent Threats (APTs): Long-term, targeted attacks typically orchestrated by well-funded, highly skilled groups or nation-states.

12. IoT Attacks: Targeting Internet of Things (IoT) devices, such as smart home appliances and industrial sensors, to gain unauthorized access or disrupt operations.

12. Rogue Software: Downloading or installing malicious software unknowingly, often bundled with legitimate software.

13. Fileless Attacks: Exploiting vulnerabilities in a system’s memory or processes without leaving traces on the hard drive.

Each of these cyberattacks has specific goals and methods, and cybersecurity measures are put in place to defend against them. Staying informed about these threats and practicing good cybersecurity hygiene is crucial in protecting against cyberattacks.

Who are the perpetrators of cyber-attacks?

Cyberattacks can be perpetrated by various individuals, groups, or entities with different motivations and objectives. Here are some common perpetrators of cyberattacks:

1. Hacktivists: These individuals or groups use hacking as a means to promote a social, political, or environmental agenda. They often target organizations or government agencies they perceive as opposing their beliefs.

2. Criminal Hackers: Cybercriminals are motivated by financial gain. They engage in activities such as stealing personal information, and credit card data, or conducting ransomware attacks to extort money from victims.

3. State-Sponsored Hackers: Nation-states and government agencies may conduct cyberattacks for espionage, political influence, or sabotage. These attacks are often highly sophisticated and well-funded.

4. Insiders: Employees or trusted individuals within an organization who misuse their access to carry out cyberattacks. Insider threats can be motivated by financial gain, revenge, or ideology.

5. Script Kiddies: These are typically less-skilled individuals who use pre-written scripts or tools to launch basic cyberattacks for fun, curiosity, or notoriety.

6. Cyber Terrorists: Similar to hacktivists, cyber terrorists use cyberattacks to further their ideological or political agendas, but with a more extreme and potentially violent approach.

7. Competing Corporations: Some businesses engage in corporate espionage to gain a competitive advantage. They may use cyberattacks to steal intellectual property or disrupt their rivals’ operations.

8. Organized Crime Groups: Criminal organizations may specialize in cybercrime, conducting a wide range of attacks, including data breaches, ransomware, and identity theft, to generate revenue.

9. Unintentional Actors: Sometimes, individuals or organizations inadvertently become perpetrators of cyberattacks due to poor security practices. For example, a poorly secured IoT device may be hijacked and used in a botnet for a DDoS attack.

10. Vulnerable Individuals: In some cases, individuals with limited technical skills may fall prey to cybercriminals who manipulate them into participating in illegal activities, such as money mule schemes or spreading malware.

What are the impacts of cyber-attacks?

Cyberattacks can have significant and far-reaching impacts on individuals, organizations, and even entire societies. These impacts can range from financial losses to damage to reputation and even threats to national security. Here are some of the common impacts of cyberattacks:

1. Financial Losses:

  • Stolen Funds: Cybercriminals can drain bank accounts, steal credit card information, or conduct fraudulent transactions, leading to financial losses for individuals and organizations.
  • Ransom Payments: Victims of ransomware attacks may be forced to pay a ransom to regain access to their data or systems.
  • Business Disruption: Downtime caused by cyberattacks can result in lost revenue and increased operational costs.

2. Data Breaches:

  • Loss of Sensitive Information: Data breaches can expose sensitive personal or corporate data, including customer information, intellectual property, and trade secrets.
  • Legal Consequences: Organizations may face legal liabilities, fines, and regulatory penalties for failing to protect data adequately.

3. Reputation Damage:

  • Loss of Trust: Breached organizations may suffer a loss of trust from customers, partners, and stakeholders, which can have long-term consequences for their brand.
  • Negative Publicity: Cyberattacks can lead to negative media coverage and public scrutiny, further damaging an organization’s reputation.

4. Operational Disruption:

  • Downtime: Cyberattacks like DDoS (Denial of Service) can disrupt essential services and operations, causing inconvenience and financial losses.
  • Supply Chain Disruption: Attacks on critical suppliers can disrupt the supply chain, affecting production and delivery of goods and services.

5. Intellectual Property Theft:

  • Loss of Competitive Advantage: Theft of intellectual property can lead to competitors gaining an unfair advantage in the marketplace.

6. Identity Theft and Fraud:

  • Personal Losses: Individuals may suffer financial losses, emotional distress, and reputational damage due to identity theft and fraud.

7. National Security Threats:

  • Critical Infrastructure: Attacks on critical infrastructure, such as power grids, water supplies, and transportation systems, can pose serious risks to national security.
  • Espionage: State-sponsored cyberattacks targeting government agencies and defense contractors can result in the theft of sensitive national security information.

8. Health and Safety Concerns:

  • Healthcare: Cyberattacks on healthcare systems can jeopardize patient safety and compromise the confidentiality of medical records.
  • Autonomous Systems: Attacks on autonomous vehicles or industrial control systems can lead to safety hazards.

9. Psychological and Emotional Impact:

  • Stress and Anxiety: Victims of cyberattacks, especially targeted individuals, may experience stress, anxiety, and emotional distress.

10. Long-Term Consequences:

  • Ongoing Threat: Once a cyberattack occurs, the threat may persist as attackers attempt to maintain access or launch subsequent attacks.
  • Costly Recovery: Recovering from a cyberattack can be expensive, time-consuming, and resource-intensive.

Common acts that violate cyber security

Common acts that violate cybersecurity include various malicious activities that compromise the confidentiality, integrity, or availability of computer systems, networks, and data. Here are some common acts that violate cybersecurity:

1. Unauthorized Access: Gaining access to computer systems, networks, or data without proper authorization is a direct violation of cybersecurity. This includes hacking into accounts or systems, exploiting weak passwords, or using stolen credentials.

2. Phishing: Sending deceptive emails, messages, or websites that impersonate legitimate organizations to trick individuals into revealing sensitive information, such as usernames, passwords, or financial details.

3. Malware Distribution: Creating, distributing, or deploying malicious software (malware), including viruses, worms, Trojans, ransomware, and spyware, with the intent to compromise systems or steal data.

4. Denial of Service (DoS) Attacks: Overloading a network, website, or service with excessive traffic or requests to make it unavailable to legitimate users, disrupting business operations.

5. Data Theft and Breaches: Illegally accessing and stealing sensitive data, including personal information, financial data, intellectual property, and trade secrets.

6. Identity Theft: Using stolen personal information to impersonate someone for fraudulent activities, such as opening bank accounts, making unauthorized purchases, or committing financial fraud.

7. Insider Threats: Employees, contractors, or trusted individuals within an organization intentionally or unintentionally compromising cybersecurity through actions like sharing sensitive information, mishandling data, or introducing vulnerabilities.

8. Social Engineering: Manipulating individuals through psychological tactics to divulge confidential information, perform actions that compromise security, or grant unauthorized access.

9. Botnet Operations: Creating or controlling networks of compromised computers (botnets) to carry out cyberattacks, distribute malware, or engage in other illicit activities.

10. Unsecured IoT Devices: Failing to secure Internet of Things (IoT) devices, leaving them vulnerable to exploitation and potential threats to privacy and security.

11. Cyberbullying: Harassing, threatening, or spreading false information about individuals online, causing emotional distress and harm to their reputations.

12. Cyber Vandalism: Defacing websites, altering online content, or causing damage to digital properties for malicious purposes.

13. Cyberstalking: Repeatedly harassing or threatening someone online, causing fear and emotional distress.

14. Scareware and Tech Support Scams: Deceptive tactics to trick individuals into purchasing fake security software or services or providing remote access to their computers to criminals posing as tech support personnel.

15. Violations of Cybersecurity Policies: Disregarding organizational or institutional cybersecurity policies, such as sharing passwords, using unauthorized software or devices, or failing to update security measures.

These acts are not only unethical but also illegal in many jurisdictions. Cybersecurity laws and regulations aim to protect individuals, organizations, and critical infrastructure from these and other cyber threats.

How to protect yourself from cyber-attacks?

Protecting yourself from cyberattacks requires a combination of good practices, security measures, and vigilance. Here are some essential steps to help safeguard your digital life:

1. Use Strong, Unique Passwords:

  • Create strong, complex passwords that include a mix of upper and lower-case letters, numbers, and symbols.
  • Avoid using easily guessable information like names, birthdays, or common words.
  • Use a different password for each online account to prevent a single breach from compromising multiple accounts.
  • Consider using a reputable password manager to generate, store, and autofill passwords securely.

2. Enable Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA): Whenever possible, enable MFA for your online accounts. MFA adds an extra layer of security by requiring a second authentication step, such as a one-time code sent to your mobile device.

3. Keep Software and Devices Updated: Regularly update your operating system, applications, and antivirus software. Updates often include security patches that fix known vulnerabilities.

4. Beware of Phishing Attempts:

  • Be cautious when opening emails, and messages, or clicking on links, especially if they are from unknown or suspicious sources.
  • Verify the legitimacy of email senders, and don’t provide sensitive information via email or unfamiliar websites.

5. Use Secure Wi-Fi Connections: Avoid connecting to public Wi-Fi networks for sensitive activities like online banking or shopping. If necessary, use a virtual private network (VPN) for added security.

6. Regularly Back Up Your Data: Perform regular backups of your important files and data to an external drive or a secure cloud service. This helps mitigate the impact of ransomware attacks and data loss.

7. Install and Update Antivirus Software:

  • Use reputable antivirus and anti-malware software to scan for and remove malicious programs.
  • Keep the antivirus software up to date to ensure it can detect the latest threats.

8. Practice Safe Social Media Usage:

  • Be cautious about sharing personal information on social media platforms. Cybercriminals can use this information for phishing and identity theft.
  • Adjust your privacy settings to limit who can see your posts and personal details.

9. Educate Yourself:

  • Stay informed about common cyber threats and techniques used by cybercriminals.
  • Be skeptical of unsolicited requests for personal or financial information, even if they appear legitimate.

10. Secure Your Devices:

  • Use device encryption to protect the data on your smartphones, tablets, and computers.
  • Enable remote tracking and wiping features for your mobile devices in case they are lost or stolen.

11. Regularly Monitor Your Financial Statements: Review your bank and credit card statements regularly for unauthorized transactions. Report any discrepancies immediately.

12. Practice Safe Online Shopping:

  • Shop from reputable websites with secure payment options (look for HTTPS in the URL).
  • Avoid clicking on suspicious shopping-related links or ads.

13. Secure IoT Devices:

  • Change default passwords on Internet of Things (IoT) devices and keep their firmware updated.
  • Isolate IoT devices on a separate network from your critical systems if possible.

14. Stay Informed:

  • Keep up-to-date with the latest cybersecurity news and advisories.
  • Consider attending cybersecurity awareness training or workshops.

15. Create a Cybersecurity Plan: Develop a plan for responding to cyber incidents, including steps to take if you suspect a breach.

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are some frequently asked questions (FAQs) related to acts that violate cyber security:

What is the difference between hacking and ethical hacking?

Hacking typically refers to unauthorized access or malicious activities. Ethical hacking, on the other hand, involves security professionals conducting authorized testing of systems to identify vulnerabilities and strengthen security.

How can I recognize a phishing email or message?

Look for suspicious sender addresses, spelling and grammar errors, urgent or threatening language, and requests for personal or financial information. Hover over links to preview the URL before clicking.

What legal consequences can cybercriminals face if caught?

Cybercriminals can face criminal charges, including fines and imprisonment, depending on the severity of their actions and the laws in their jurisdiction. Additionally, victims may pursue civil lawsuits for damages.

What is the dark web, and how can I protect myself from its dangers?

The dark web is a part of the internet that is not indexed by search engines and often associated with illegal activities. To protect yourself, avoid accessing it, use strong passwords, and be cautious about sharing personal information online.

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Additional Resources:

  1. A comparison of cybersecurity regulations: India – PWC
  2. 4 Things You Can Do To Keep Yourself Cyber Safe – CISA
  3. What is a cyberattack? – IBM
  4. Image by Freepik