types of cyber attacks

Published: 12 Jun 2017

6 most common forms of cyber attacks you should be aware of

Last Updated: 25 Aug 2022

Cyber attacks are on a rapid upsurge across the globe. It is termed as a new and the most perilous face of war, involving defensive and offensive operations referring to the threat of spying, cyber-attacks, and disruption. The day-to-day increase of the web and mobile applications have attracted users to acquire end-to-end solutions that can help them deal with less trusted parties.

In the long run, these applications become possible sources that exaggerate security threat to sensitive data connected through web and mobile. This situation calls for a holistic approach to security covering multiple layers that include host, network, and application, to achieve hack-proof web/mobile applications.

However, when hackers are leaving no stone unturned to exploit the vulnerabilities in the applications, security testing is the only solution that can help in keeping the application’s security intact. Though, past years have experienced cyber-attacks that have resulted in the loss of various company’s brand value and also having them lose millions of dollars. Let us discuss the common forms of cyber-attacks and how security testing is proving to be a savior.

Related: Significance of Application Security Testing in Preventing Cyber-Attacks


Common Forms of Cyber Attacks


The most common forms of cyber-attacks are as follows:


It is an all-encompassing form of cyber threat that includes viruses, Trojans, and worms. It is defined as a code with a malicious attempt that typically steals or destroys the data. You must have noticed antivirus alert pop-up, or if you have mistakenly clicked on a malicious link, then you have had an introduction with malware. One such virus that recently shook the world on May 12, 2017, a ransomware (a type of malware) named WannaCry was programmed to encrypt the data on a system. 150 countries and a total of 300,000 machines were affected by this cyber-attack. (


This is another common type of cyber-attack. There are chances that you would not know a random attachment or click on a link that comes to your email unless there is a compelling reason for you to do that. Now, the hackers know this. When a hacker makes an attempt to make you install a particular malware, or let you disclose sensitive information, they turn to phishing strategies. They pretend to be someone or something else to get you to take an action you would avoid.

SQL Injection Attack

SQL is a programming language that is used to communicate with databases. An SQL injection attack particularly targets this kind of server, using malicious code to get the server to reveal information it would not normally disclose. This gets problematic when the server is storing private customer information from the website such as credit card numbers, passwords, usernames, and other private credentials.

Denial of Service (DoS)

DoS happens when you flood a website with more traffic than it is built to handle, the server gets overloaded. In this situation, it becomes highly impossible for the website to supply its content to the users who are trying to access it. There can be countless reasons for it to happen, for example, if huge story breaks and a news website gets overloaded with traffic from various people trying to explore more. This kind of overload, becomes malicious at times, resulting in an overwhelming amount of traffic to shut it down for all users.

Session Hijacking and Man-in-the-Middle Attacks

The session between your system and the remote web server is provided with a unique session ID, which is supposed to stay private between two parties. However, in session hijacking, the attacker hijacks the session by capturing the session ID and behaving as the computer giving commands, allowing the users to log in as an unsuspecting user and finally gaining access to unauthorized information on the web server.

Cross-Site Scripting (XSS)

After an SQL injection attack, the attacker goes after a vulnerable website to aim at its stored data, such as sensitive financial data or user credentials. However, if the attacker directly targets a website’s users, they might opt for an XSS attack. This attack also includes injecting malicious code into a website, but in this case, the malicious code that has been injected by the hacker starts running.


Security Testing: The ultimate solution for preventing cyber-attacks


Web application security should be tested to develop secure applications, especially when the application deals with critical information. Web application security testing is the process< that helps in verifying that the information system is able to protect and maintain the data and its intended functionality. A vigorous investigation of application is involved in this process to identify any technical flaw, weakness, or vulnerability. The primary aim of security testing is to identify vulnerability and consequently repair them.


Given below is the list of few critical security testing techniques that must be executed in organizations to defend critical data and information:

1. Vulnerability Scanning: System is scanned with the help of automated software to identify any weakness.

2. Penetration Testing: Analysis of a system takes place by simulating an attack from a malicious hacker to check all potential vulnerabilities.

3. Risk Assessment: This assessment involves analysis of security risks identified in an organization, it also recommends measures and controls to reduce the risk.

4. Security Auditing: It is an internal inspection of applications and operating systems (OS’s) for any security flaw.


Organizations lack in performing a complete security check of the websites and applications. Various websites/applications launched in the market suffer huge downfall due to security issues. This has led to specialist software testing and QA organizations that provide a unique independent approach to fulfilling all your testing needs. TestingXperts’ security testing services include an in-depth security analysis supported by dashboards and reports. TestingXperts’ also has remarkable industry experience in security testing for web applications, mobile applications, software products, and web services.

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