Cyber Threats That are Most Difficult to Detect

Cybersecurity professionals are always defending computer systems against various types of cyber attacks. Attackers often hit businesses and other private institutions daily, and the magnitude of the damage caused depends on what they are interested in.

Some will just steal confidential information and sell it on the dark web, while others will ask for a ransom fee. Detecting the attackers requires sophisticated security measures to be put in place to combat these activities. Below are some of the cyber threats that are most difficult to detect.

Denial-of-service and distributed denial-of-service attacks

It’s challenging to detect denial of service attacks. In this attack, the hackers often overwhelm the system with so many requests that it cannot respond to the specific service request.

With DDoS attacks, the attack is usually launched from many host computers infected with malicious software and controlled by the hacker. To thwart this attack, you need advanced email protection to prevent hackers from stealing your business’s confidential information. For the denial-of-service, the approach is different. These attacks are not designed to enable attackers to gain or increase their access to the business system.

To be precise, these attacks do not directly benefit the hacker. To some of the attackers, it’s just enough for them to have service denial. Though, if the attacked system belongs to a business competitor, then the benefits of this attack are real enough.

Man-in-the-middle attack

A man-in-the-middle attack, often called a MitM attack, happens when the hacker inserts themselves between the customer’s communications and the server. There are several kinds of this attack, and they include session hijacking, IP spoofing, and replay.

With session hijacking, the hacker hijacks the session between the customer and the network server. Without sophisticated tools, detecting the attacker is challenging as the attacked computer replaces its IP address for the customer while the server is in session.

In the case of IP spoofing, the hacker convinces the system that it’s communicating with a known and trusted customer to provide access to the system. The best way to avoid this attack is by failing to act upon the package sent. Replay attack involves intercepting and saving old messages and then sending them later while impersonating one of the customers.

Phishing attacks

Phishing attacks are a common form of cyberattacks small businesses face daily. It happens mainly in small businesses because they have not invested so heavily in practices and tools that can help to detect and prevent phishing attempts. The common types of phishing attacks include spear phishing and CEO fraud.

These attacks combine both social engineering techniques and technical trickery. The hacker may attach a file that downloads the malware into the organization’s computer system, which will result in huge losses. Sometimes, there are links attached to emails that are associated with an illegitimate website.

With spear-phishing, the message is explicitly tailored for the target victim depending on their interests or preferences on something. Spear phishing attacks include a call to action and are very devastating. Most sections of the email that target the victim are falsified, and it’s tough to detect that.

Drive-by attack

A drive-by download attack is a common way hackers spread their malware programs to the target victims. Attackers often target websites that are not properly secured and then plant these programs’ scripts into the HTTP or the PHP code on one of the pages. Whenever you visit the site, the malware program will directly download into the computer you are using.

The cross-site script by the hacker can also direct you to another website fully controlled by the hacker. Some computers with sophisticated security features will detect the website’s address that can threaten your system. But if you don’t update your security tools often, the tools will not be able to detect that the website is not safe anymore.

Unlike all other types of attack, the drive-by attack doesn’t necessarily rely on you to do anything to facilitate the attack. This means you don’t have to click the download button for the computer you are using to be infected. The malicious program takes advantage of the operating system of the website browser, which is full of security flaws due to a lack of the necessary updates. 

SQL injection attacks

SQL injection attacks often occur on database-driven websites. In this case, the malefactor executes a query to the target database via the input data from the customer to the server. Then, the SQL commands are inserted into the data-plane input to run the predefined commands.

With a successful SQL injection, the attacker will be able to read the confidential data about the business and modify the database to function in their favor. They can also execute administrative operations to shut down the whole system or recover certain content from the website.

The vulnerability of your database-driven website depends on whether your SQL can make a real distinction between the data planes and control. These attacks are more successful if the business website uses dynamic SQL.

Malware attack

It’s easier to know when your computer system is adversely affected by malware, but detecting these malware programs in the early stages of the attack is very challenging. When you realize that your system is infected, the attacker will probably have stolen or performed all actions they intended.

Malicious programs can be unwanted software programs installed into your computer system without your consent. These programs often lurk the valuable applications of the system or continue replicating across the network until each computer is infected.

The most common malware attacks include file infectors, system or boot-record infectors, polymorphic viruses, macro viruses, and trojans. File infectors are viruses that attach themselves as executable code like .exe files and get installed when the code is loaded.


Mounting adequate defense security against cyber-attacks requires a thorough understanding of how hackers operate. It’s a continuous process, and you must keep yourself updated on the new tricks that attackers are using to infiltrate systems. The measures you can take to mitigate these security threats may vary, but the security basics are the same.

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