According to the most general classification, technical attacks can be carried out either without direct access to the server or with the need of access to the server. In the first group are mostly incidents whose most important goal is to prevent access to the content of the site.
There are several ways to crash a server, and the most commonly used is a DDoS (Distributed Denial of Service) attack. This means that a huge number of devices simultaneously send access requests to the attacked server, which cannot answer all the queries and simply stops working. After the attack stops, in most cases the server and the site work normally.
Ransomware is a form of malware which encrypts files on anything from a single computer all the way up to an entire network, including servers, so that the files cannot be accessed without a decryption key. The attackers then ask for payments in cryptocurrency to provide targets with the decryption key, usually within a short time frame to put more pressure on the targets.
Phishing is focused on exploiting the lack of knowledge or gullibility of the target and is mostly done by email. It is usually used for various scams, such as the famed “Nigerian Prince”, infecting devices with malware or gaining access to sensitive information, such as financial data or login credentials. Potential targets are sent a fraudulent message which is made to look authentic and as if it was coming from someone from the position of authority, such as a bank or police. The recipient is then asked in the email to open the attached file or click on a link in order to do something very important, e.g. to update bank account information or review a received payment.
Interception of communication (voice, video, text chats, internet traffic) is also a risk, as there are actors such as intelligence agencies and criminals with advanced capabilities and resources to conduct surveillance of unencrypted communications channels. Issues such as government hacking are becoming increasingly dangerous for citizens’ communications privacy due to the growing surveillance industry, which keeps developing and selling one advanced product after the next.
Code injection is a more sophisticated type of attack, when malicious code is inserted through some open form of the site or through a URL. The goal of the attack is to instigate the database or other part of the site to perform operations that have no visible result, but occupy the server's resources until they flood it with activities, thus shutting it down. In some cases, after these attacks, the site becomes unusable, so the content is restored with the last saved copy . Regular backup of the site is rightly considered an elementary security procedure.
Trojans that enter the system through social engineering are first on the list when it comes to the number of some types of attacks. Users usually pick up the infection on obscure websites where they recklessly accept the warning that they are “infected” and activate a fake antivirus. In this way, millions of hacking attacks are carried out each year, which puts the trojans in an unsurpassed advantage over other hacker attacks. The best protection against this type of attack is education and information about modern forms of threats. In organisations, this problem is somehow solved by filtering sites that can be accessed from a computer in the local network.
Computer worms are malicious programs that multiply themselves, using computer networks to transmit to other computers, usually without human intervention. They can arrive as an email attachment and their operation is enabled by security vulnerabilities in the operating system. The best protection against worm attacks are antivirus software and quality passwords [PASSWORS]. Other good methods are firewalls, not opening suspicious emails and regular software updates.
Online harassment includes many forms of abuse, such as impersonation (i.e. someone making a fake social media or email account with your personal data), smear campaigns, hate speech, threats, cyberstalking, etc. When such incidents occur, it is best to report and block the accounts in question and gather any digital evidence to be used for potentially filing a criminal complaint: relevant links or URL addresses, screenshots of profiles and messages, phone/app call logs and similar.
Attacks that require access to a server are mostly complex and more serious. They are aimed at stealing data, altering content, placing fake content and disabling access to content. These attacks are complex because the attacker must break through all the security measures set on the server in order to reach certain passwords, access codes and the like. They also require greater expertise of the attacker.