Cyberattacks are usually done with the aim to affect a large sum of people but targeted attacks are quite different. While the motive of hackers is same. I.e., cause harm to someone but they target single organization/company at a time. What are target attacks? Who are they targeting and what are the harms caused by such attacks? Knowing about any cyberattack is a step forward to prevent it. Even small pieces of knowledge can help you build up a plan in case of such targeted attacks. You can know about the basics by reading this article.
Cyberattacks aren’t new, they are happening and increasing at an alarming rate. Anyone can be the victim of these malicious attackers, me, you or anyone who is their target. But that doesn’t mean you have to panic, instead you can prepare yourself for such situations and react accordingly. Trust me that’s the need of the hour and will help you a lot.
You can call an attack a targeted attacks if it fulfills the three main criteria:
- Main aim of that attack is to infiltrate the networks of their target and steal sensitive information from their servers.
- These attacks are target specific and it seen that to carry out this attack considerable amount of time, efforts and resources have been spent.
- Targeted attacks are persistent where attackers show considerable effort so that the attacks continue unless their aim is fulfilled.
Is there any difference between cyberattacks and targeted attacks?
As mentioned earlier targeted attacks are actually very different from the cyberattacks. Here’s how you can differentiate between them.
When an attack is done with the intention of harming maximum number of people in a short time span they are cyber attacks but when the attack is targeted they have a narrow scope limiting their targets to one company or organization. All their work, effort and research is carried out to lure people into their trap and getting access to their network.
While cyber attacks are opportunistic, automated and indiscriminate, targeted attacks are purposeful, deliberate and persistent. Intention behind any cyber crime is to steal money like stealing bank details but when any targeted attack takes place it occurs with the main intent of stealing information, the secondary intent is to steal money. Also targeted attacks take place on specific targets having a strong unifying theme like from the same organization.
Who are the targets?
Who are under the radar of target attackers is a concerning question. They can probably target and attack the following:
- Billing companies : Attackers targeting and attacking billing companies have the purpose of accessing into customer’s account and steal important information. These information consists of financial information, customer’s database and technical data too.
- Banks : The cyber criminals attack banks’ server with the intention of accessing information and illegally transfer money from the customers’ bank accounts.
Damage caused by targeted attacks:
The victims of target attacks can either be a whole company/organization or some employees of a company/organization in the following ways:
Effect on company:
- Loss of customer’s information can be one of the damages caused by targeted attacks. Hackers break into the information database of the company and steal customer’s personal information which can be used for identity theft, extortion and blackmail.
- Company’s reputation will be tarnished because of such attacks. Everyone will see the company incapable of being trusted with sensitive data important to their customers or related to national security.
- Targeted attacks can cause financial loss too as they might lose clients or have to pay a lot because of legal troubles. Not just this but to repair all the damage caused by the attacks and for future investments companies have to pay big loads of money.
- Target attacks can be very disrupting for any business and makes them unable to perform even their basic tasks. They either divert the manpower to deal with the attack and cause delay or cause a system downtime.
Effect on company’s employees:
- Not just the company’s reputation but the employees’ reputation is at stake too. These attacks can also tarnish the reputation on any employee. Data breach results in stealing of important credentials and information that can be used in malicious ways to tarnish the image of employees.
- Financial loss is very common when banking information of any employee is stolen.
- Transferring funds from victim’s account is not the only way to steal money. Cyber criminals can use the stolen information of employees to blackmail them and extort money. If attacker’s aim is to steal/extort money then blackmailing is the most viable option for them as there’s no guarantee of getting your information back or destroyed by them. They can blackmail the victim as long as they are getting the money.
- When cyber-attackers steal information or commit data breach they steal all the significant information and personal identity information. This includes your full name, phone numbers, address, banking details and other important information. This can lead to identity theft.