Cyberattacks have increased in frequency and intensity over the years. These online attacks come in various forms, yet no two are exactly alike. However, there remain to be similarities in some strategies because some have been proven to be effective more than others. There are four primary methods of cyberattacks, and it’s important you understand them to help you prepare and equip your system with the right security to protect your files and essential data.

In this article, we will share the usual primary methods of cyberattacks:


Social Engineering

Most cyberattacks begin with social engineering wherein cyber criminals employ a set of strategies to lure users into providing them with the data or information about themselves. Social engineering involves malware, in which users could open links that would lead them to infected sites, which then leads them to a full-blown cyberattack.

This cyberattack method is focused on human interaction to persuade online users to take actions that they wouldn’t normally do. Under this method, a common type of cyberattack is a phishing attack, where users are targeted electronically, often via email, and the attacker disguises as a legitimate person or business to acquire sensitive data.



Short for Malicious Software, malware is a program or file that is harmful to a computer. It brings viruses, Trojan horses, spyware, worms, and ransomware. Malware is used for several reasons, including stealing, altering, or hijacking computer systems and removing or encrypting sensitive data.

As mentioned, there are different types of malware defined by specific characteristics. For one, a virus infects programs or files. In contrast, a worm spreads copies of itself from one device to another without the need to rely on other files or programs.

On the other hand, a Trojan horse is concealed as a legit software program that can run malicious payload in the computer once activated. The ransomware then encrypts files on a user’s system and holds the files hostage unless the hacker’s demands are met.


Unpatched Data

A massive chunk of data vulnerabilities that took place in the past two years may be traced back to unpatched data. One example of this is the Equifax breach that exposed personal data for 146.6 million US consumers and was traced to a missing patch of a single server.

Patching is also vital to Content Management Systems (CMS), such as WordPress, which has become a favorite by hackers due to its popularity. A huge number of WP sites are not optimised for security that could easily lead to cyberattacks.


Non-Human Traffic

Half of the traffic online is bots and scrapers, which can be used for Distributed Denial of Service (DDOS) attacks. The DDOS can overwhelm a server or a site’s ability to handle high volumes of traffic, denying legit traffic from being able to connect to the website. This can happen for several reasons, such as big news story breaks. In some cases, this type of cyberattack is conducted by many computers simultaneously.


Knowing the primary methods of cyberattacks is crucial to protect yourself and your brand from the prevalence of online threats. This is usually the first step to protect your online assets and valuable data. When you don’t have the necessary protection, you’re at a high risk of losing a lot of the things you worked hard for in the blink of an eye.

This is why you must invest in quality online brand protection with our help here at FraudWatch International. We are a leading online cybersecurity agency that has been protecting brands around the world since 2003. Get in touch with us today to learn more about our services!