The Different Types of Cyber Threats: Cyber Attacks, Internal Threats, Social Engineering, Malware, Spyware Etc.

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Cyber threats are security breaches that are caused with the intent of stealing data or tampering with computer systems. Such attacks can grant hackers access to personal user information. Cybercriminals with malicious intent can use such data to commit identity theft or even cripple the entire organisation’s network. 

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Some of the most common categories of cyber threats are social engineering attacks, malware attacks, man-in-the-middle attacks, supply chain attacks, injection attacks, and denial of service (DoS) attacks. You can learn more about these cyber attacks and the possible ways to safeguard your organisation against them in an IIT Roorkee cybersecurity course.

This article discusses in detail the different types of cyber threats that can pose considerable damage to an organisation. Read on to learn more. 

Malware Attacks - The Most Common of All

Malware is the shortened form of “malicious software.” Malware refers to cyber threats that are caused due to viruses, spyware, trojans, ransomware, etc. This kind of threat usually finds its way into the system when users click an email or link or download software from an untrusted source. 

Once malware gets installed in your system, it can cause considerable damage by blocking access to the network’s critical components, gathering sensitive confidential data, or damaging the system on the whole. Some common variations of malware attacks apart from viruses and worms are listed below. 

  • Spyware: You can figure out from the name that this kind of malware spies on your activities. The data thus gathered is then sent to the hacker. Spyware can access a user’s confidential data such as passwords, payment details, logins, and so on.
  • Ransomware: This kind of attack encrypts your data in such a way that you will not be able to access your own system. Users will be asked to pay a ransom after which the access will be restored. However, there is still no assurance that you will gain full access to the functionality after you have paid the ransom. 
  • Trojan: This kind of malware hides inside software that is legitimate. Once you download such software, your system goes for a toss as the trojan gains full control of the device. 
  • Keyloggers: This kind of malware is most commonly used for identity theft and blackmail. As Spyware spies on your activities, Keyloggers track all your activities, including what you type and the site you use. The information is then passed on to hackers, which they then use to satisfy their own malicious intent. 

Social Engineering Attacks Practised through Deception 

This can be compared to a kind of manipulation in which hackers pose as trusted sources or individuals and then trick them into providing them with the entry point. These malicious activities are accomplished through human interaction. 

This is a slow process and takes a considerable amount of research. Hackers first need to gather enough background information about the individual or organisation that they are planning to target and identify the entry points. Once this is done, the hackers then try to gain the trust of the victims and proceed with the attack. 

Some variations of social engineering attacks are mentioned below. 

  • Phishing: In this kind of cyber attack, the hacker sends deceptive emails as though they are coming from a trusted source. The users are then duped into clicking the emails and accessing the malicious content. This way, the threat is installed into the computer and the hacker gains access to sensitive confidential information such as user data, bank details, login credentials, and so on. 

Like phishing, there are also concepts like vishing and smishing, which use phone calls and text messages respectively to dupe the users into believing the hackers masquerading as legitimate sources.

  • Baiting: In baiting, users are lured into attractive things such as gift cards and offers. As soon as the user clicks on them, the attacker gains access to all kinds of sensitive information. 
  • Scareware: In this kind of cyber attack, victims are given false threats and alarms and are tricked into believing that their system is malware infected. They are shown pop-ups that persuade them to install software that can safeguard their device but is a perpetrator instead. The real trouble begins when they click on the pop-up.

Injection Attacks that Disrupt the Network Security 

Not securing your network can prove to be grievous because hackers are equipped with smart ways to slide into your system. Of all the techniques they use, injections are a common tactic that helps them execute their task neatly. 

Injection attacks are the kind of cyber attack in which attackers infect web applications with malicious content that can retrieve personal information and disrupt the working of the system. Some of the main injection attacks are stated below. 

  • SQL Injection: In an SQL injection, a command is used to insert malicious code into the SQL statements in order to gain control over the data. The code is injected through a web page input. 
  • Cross-Site Scripting: In this kind of cyber attack, malicious JavaScripts are injected into legitimate websites. Through this kind of web security attack, attackers take control over the interactions between the users and the vulnerable applications. 
  • OS Command Injection: In this kind of cyber attack, the attacker uses the operating system as an instrument to execute his malicious intent. Command injections are used to insert vulnerabilities that are to be executed by the operating system. 

Some Other Kinds of Cyber Threats

Alongside the attack types mentioned above, there are also other kinds of cyber attacks such as the Man-in-the-Middle attack and Denial-of-Service attack. 

In a Man-in-the-Middle attack, attackers intervene the communication between users and applications and steal confidential information. Attackers can pose as legitimate Wi-Fi connections, connecting to which may cause havoc to a user’s network security

Denial-of-service is a kind of attack in which a target system is overloaded with humongous amounts of traffic, which hinders the system’s ability to function. One can also not oversee the risk of internal threats posed by insiders who might have immoral intent.  


Since hackers and attackers are getting smart, organisations need to make their security systems smarter. It takes skilled IT professionals to come up with measures that can fortify an organisation’s network security system.

If you are looking forward to building your career in this field, you can opt for an IIT Roorkee cybersecurity course brought to you by Imarticus Learning, which will teach you more about these cyber threats and other aspects related to it such as ethical hacking, cloud computing and ensuring cloud security, incident handling, etc. 

This course does not only offer you the privilege to learn from expert faculties from IIT Roorkee but also equips you with market-relevant skills like cloud security, ethical hacking, application security, etc. that can help you future-proof your career. The 3-day campus immersion program also helps you network better and open up new opportunities. 

Enrol now for a brighter IT career!

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