Cyber Security: Major Cyber Attacks And Techniques Used To Tackle Them

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The aim of this report is to investigate the major cyber attacks and techniques used to tackle them. Network infrastructure with reliable communications and processing capabilities is key to commerce. This is the reason data in the systems has become more vulnerable to cyber attacks. In this report, different types of Cyberattacks and solutions for tackling these problems are described. This research has found that man in the middle attack like ransomware, unpatched software and phishing are major cyber threats for systems. There has been progress in cyber security field as researchers have found some effective techniques like RADIUS, data encryption and educating employees about cyber security. Although these techniques are proved to be very effective as they enhance the security gates surrounding the data systems but these techniques have their own downsides. As the cyber security methods continue to improve hackers are finding new ways of tampering into these security systems and today we see that combining technology with more futuristic technologies like data clouding are the way to protect the systems against cyber attacks.

Keywords Cyber attacks, ransomware, phishing, unpatched software.

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The twenty-first century digital world enabled content seeking individuals with internet on their computers, tablets, and mobiles. Eventually, all our personal, social and professional activities have been moving to online world. The online, digital world has made our life very smooth and easy as almost everything is easily accessible with some “clicks” on our computers or mobiles. Bank transactions or paying bills, sharing ideas or projects with colleagues by cloud file sharing, distance learning and many more facilities are possible because of internet. But we receive these benefits in exchange of enormous personal details which we provide by just signing up to a website. How can we know if our personal data which we provide on websites we surf, is safe in their databases? What if our personal log in details to our bank account get leaked to some hacker? ‘Security around IoT devices hasn’t been very good, so if they’re opened up to better connectivity they’re opened up to more hackers, too,’ says Cody Brocious [1]. As a result of that, engineers are continually working to heighten the standards of cyber security. In the current situation as banking is mostly limited to online version, we probably need more guards who can prevent our data online than the guards standing outside the banks. Although major organisations are often the target of security threats, many of them, specifically millennials, seem oblivious of such threats. This paper will discuss the importance of Cyber Security in general and for industrial sector.

1.1 Aim and Research

Questions: The aim of this report is to investigate the major Cyber Security threats. Every organisation in general is vulnerable to cyber attacks and the methods to tackle these attacks are also discussed. To achieve the aim, the following questions will be inquired and answered: (i) What are types of Cyber Security threats ? (ii) How major organisations deal with Cyber threats ?

2 Results

Cybercrime in compare to Cyber security has grown more rapidly in the past decades. This section deals with different type of major cyber-attacks on mobile devices and contemporary techniques to deal with them in cyber world.

2.1 Types of Attack

A cyber-attack is a strike against a computer system, mobile devices, network, or internet-enabled applications. Victims of cyber-attacks can be random or targeted, depending on cyber criminals’ intentions. During 2017, WannaCry has emerged as one of the most notable cyber-attacks due to its reach and the speed at which it spread. News of the ransomware outbreak started in Europe with Britain’s National Health Service being one of the first targets of the cyber-attack before it took off globally. Hospitals were shut down across the United Kingdom as files became encrypted. At the end, thousands of organisations were hit across more than 150 countries [2]. As thieves try to earn from vulnerable data structures of businesses, cyber crime has increased year by year to new heights. According to Cisco, from January 2016 to October 2017 cyber attacks caused damage of worth 500,000 USD or more[3]. Following are the major threats for Cyber Security.

2.1.1 Man in the middle

Man in the middle attack is a three player game. This involves the victim, the entity with which victim communicates and man in the middle. Figure 1 describes the man in the middle cyber attack. Victims, in these kind of attacks are fooled to be communicating with legitimate entity [4]. IP spoofing, DNS spoofing, HTTPS spoofing are some of man in the middle attacks to gain control of devices. Fig 1. A diagram of Man in the middle Cyber attack

2.1.2 Unpatched Software

Unpatched software refers to the software codes with known security weaknesses. These softwares could be very risky as vulnerabilities come to light. Computer codes written to fix the security holes are called patches, are developed by software developers, but usually time consuming process and gives enough time to attackers to explore the vulnerabilities[5]. Sing Health cyber attack gave attacker information about 1.5 million patients because of security hole in their software[6].

2.1.3 Ransomware

Ransomware is basically a malware, which works mostly like Trojan horses[7]. A report from Verizon states that ransomware has become so commonplace as hackers don’t need to be master in technology to deploy ransomware. Furthermore report claims that ransomware ranks top in malicious software as it was found in 39% cases where malware was detected [8]. Ransomware gets into the users system by hiding in e-mail attachments, malicious software and itself among files, furthermore it encrypts all the data on system and make it inaccessible for users. Sometimes it locks the system instead of encrypting data and attackers behind this attack ask for ransom to unlock and decrypt the data [9]. Crypto Wall, CTB Locker, Locky, WannaCry, Petya are some of major crypto ransomware [10].

2.2 Techniques adopted by organisations to tackle cyber attacks

As the organisations store their data on local servers, servers can be more vulnerable than anything else. Once an attacker has gained access to a company’s server, all data stored can be stolen or manipulated. This section will describe some of the techniques are used to prevent cyber attack against organisations.


stands for Remote Authentication Dian-in User Service. Setting up RADIUS server is highly recommend and used to stop attackers to enter the organisations system. In this server, every employee in an organisation has to authenticate from an access point with username and password to access local server and as soon as employees log out, all connections between local server and access point is terminated [11].

2.2.2 Data Encryption

As information passes across the network, it is necessary to secure information transition to maintain confidentiality, integrity and availability. To enhance the data security, different cryptography methods are used to make the data unreadable for an intruder. In transition between point A and point B, data is encrypted with secure cryptography methods like DNA or SHA at point A and is decrypted at point B by using a special key created by cryptography methods [12].

2.2.3 Education on Cyber security

Cyber security awareness is a necessary part of organisation’s information security. Employees are educated about, software handling which provides information to choose between safer and malicious software providers, education about password practice, backups and ongoing updates[13]. Ongoing training and updates are proven useful to keep data safe and secure in organisations [4].

3. Discussion

In the past, cyber attacks were less common because the hacker need to have a deep knowledge about the level of security before he could intrude into an organisation. But today with the help of open source hacking toolkits, probably hacking has become one of the ways of earning profits. According to a report by Verizon, even a naive programmer acquiring minimum knowledge of information technology can attack a system with open source tools available to hack [8]. A report from Verizon shows that in 2018, 53308 cyber security incidents and 2216 data breaches have been confirmed in 67 different countries . According to the report 68 % of these attacks took months to discover.[8] The industrial sector is most effected area of cyber attacks. Computer Science Researchers have come up with some effective techniques to secure the systems but nonetheless, hackers are finding new ways to tap into these systems [12]. For effective functioning of an organisation, it is essential to establish prominent level of security across its network. As cyber security is a process not a product, so to achieve required security several steps like, educating staff, updating security policies should be taken [13]. Ransomware, which is a man in the middle attack is preferably used by expert thieves over traditional methods like stealing credit card numbers and account credentials. Techniques mentioned in result section are able to detect ransomware attacks but still not able to stop and block the attacks completely [7].


The aim of the report was to investigate the different kinds of Cyber attacks and to discuss the methods that organisations use to deal with these threats. Cyber attack is a serious issue for commercial and industrial users. The research states that the major cyber threats are namely man in the middle, unpatched software and phishing. Since organisations fall prey to these attacks, few methods like RADIUS, data encryption and educating employees are adopted to tackle the cyber attacks. The techniques for cyber security are still developing and further research is being done in offering more sophisticated methods to secure systems and maintain confidentiality for data of billion of users worldwide.


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