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Cyberattacks: A Complete Overview and Its Future Implication

by | Mar 16, 2023 | Dystopia




Digital transformation has changed the way people and organizations operate. With technology becoming cheaper, more powerful, and more accessible, companies that were slow to turn digital now have a chance to compete on an even playing field with their digitally-savvy counterparts.

But not just companies, we use digital technology for almost everything. We expect technology to do everything for us from turning the lights on to suggesting what to eat or watch. For instance, the average British household has 7.4 internet-connected devices and a modern vehicle has around 1,400 microchips.

We are connected all the time. More than half of the world’s population has at least one social media account and has access to the same internet. On average, we spent seven hours online daily. And now we are also seeing connected home appliances with the internet of things.

Technology is just becoming the fabric of the modern world. We’re becoming increasingly dependent on it. However, digital transformation has also introduced new challenges along with its opportunities.

The increasing use of digital technologies by criminals has emerged as one of the greatest threats to businesses and individuals today. Cyberthreats are evolving at an unprecedented rate and it is becoming difficult for businesses to protect themselves from these attacks.

In fact, recent research shows that cybercrime costs the world USD 7 trillion in 2022 as more and more companies fall victim to cyberattacks each year. Almost every computers and software are deeply insecure.

The days of a 16-year-old kid hacking cheat codes for video games are gone. Today, hacking has become a business run by organized crime groups and new modern organizations. These organized groups are global, multinational, multilingual, and operate 24/7.

For instance, if someone steals your purse, you know that your purse has been stolen, and you signal the police. But the problem with cybercrime is that it happens in the background. By the time you realize you have been hacked, if you ever realize, it’s way too late.

Most cybercrime victims don’t even know that their device has been hacked and the cyber criminals are living inside the computer, monitoring what they’re doing. It is estimated that the average time to detect and contain a breach is 287 days.

By the time you realize you’ve been hacked, it’s way too late. Hence here’s everything you need to know about cybercrime and why it is on the rise. But first of all what is a cyberattack?

What is a cyberattack?

A cyberattack is an attempt to damage or disable a computer system, network, or data. They are carried out by highly skillful IT professionals for malicious purposes. Hackers attempt to gain unauthorized access to information systems over the internet or other computer networks through malicious activity.

Cyberattacks include unauthorized access to computers or networks, theft of information or communications, destruction of data, and disruption of service. While some cybercrime can be considered acts of terrorism, others are simply criminals trying to make money off the Internet.

The goal of most cyberattacks is financial gain. Hackers may steal credit card numbers or other personally identifiable information to commit identity theft or sell it on the black market. They may also use this information to break into bank accounts and steal money directly from individuals, corporations, or both.

Cybercriminals can also target specific businesses and attempt to disrupt their operations by destroying data or stealing sensitive information like customer information. They are a real threat to businesses, and the number of attacks is increasing.

For instance, 70% of ransomware attacks target small and medium businesses and email attacks have increased by 130%. Cybercriminals use increasingly sophisticated methods and tools to gain access to your data and infrastructure.

For example, a ransomware attack can lock down your entire system until a ransom is paid. A phishing email can trick you into giving up your credentials or downloading malware that can be used to gain access to sensitive data. On average a ransomware attack occurs every 11 seconds in 2021, costing USD 20 billion.


A cyberthreat is any action or threat that is carried out with the intent of damaging or compromising the security of information systems or the data they contain. It is an activity (deliberate or unintentional) that has the potential to cause harm to a digital system or activity.

These attempts can take many forms, including attacks on networks, viruses, and unauthorized access. Cyberthreat possibilities can also include sabotage or espionage conducted by malicious actors with the intent of damaging or gaining advantage over an organization.


Cybercrime is any criminal activity that takes place through the use of computers and the internet. It takes many different forms, from online theft and fraud to hacking and online stalking. It can be broken down into four categories:

  • Cyberterrorism – when a terrorist group uses the internet to plan and carry out attacks.
  • Cyberstalking – when someone uses the internet to harass, threaten, or blackmail someone else.
  • Cyber espionage – when someone steals information or secrets from a company or institution by hacking into their computer systems.
  • Cyberattacks – when someone deliberately targets computers, networks, and other digital assets to obtain unauthorized access, steal data or destroy systems.

Cybercrimes are on the rise and have become a fact of life. The problem is that they’re so hard to detect and even harder to prevent. It is important to understand how a cyberattack works and what it looks like so that you can recognize them when they happen.

Types of cyberattacks

The type of cyberattack depends on what the hacker wants to achieve. It can be attacked on networks and computers using computer viruses, worms, and other malicious software or committed through email phishing schemes and social engineering attacks.

A cyberattack can also be deliberate or accidental. A deliberate attack is when someone attempts to damage or disrupt a computer or network. An accidental attack is when someone unintentionally causes damage to a computer or network.

There are different types of cybercrime and they can be carried out by individuals, groups, or nations. It can also be perpetrated by an insider in an organization or from outside.

  • An “inside attack” is initiated by an entity inside a security perimeter, such as an employee or contractor. They have authorized access and have been corrupted or coerced into violating security policy.
  • An “outside attack” is initiated from outside the perimeter, by an unauthorized or illegitimate user of the system.

It is estimated that 75% of insider cyber attacks are the work of disgruntled ex-employees seeking to break through digital assets. A digital resource or asset can have multiple exploitable vulnerabilities.

If a threat agent exploits a vulnerability, the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of the asset may be compromised. The potential damage of an attack can extend to other resources within the organization as well as those of third parties who depend on your organization’s assets.

Now some attacks are physical. For example, someone might try to steal or damage a computer or other equipment. Others are attempts to force change the logic used by computers or network protocols to achieve unforeseen results but useful for the attacker.

Malware (malicious software) is software used for a logical attack on a computer. The types of cyberattacks can be segmented into four categories such as active, passive, syntactic, and semantic attack.

  • An “active attack” is an attempt to target and make changes in a system resource or disrupt an operation. Examples: Denial of Service attack (DoS), ping flood, buffer overflow, spoofing, ARP poisoning, etc…
  • A “passive attack” is an attempt to monitor, scan or learn information from a system. The attacker does not try to change or affect the system instead it copies and stores the information for other purposes. Examples: wiretapping, idle scan, data scrapping, computer surveillance, etc…
  • A “syntactic attack” is the use of malware to disrupt or damage a network or computer system. It is typically the use of virus-type software like Trojan horse or worse to infect a computer.
  • A “semantic attack” is where a hacker exploits weaknesses in a web application to inject malicious code that is executed by a user who visits that page. Example: cross-site scripting (XSS) and social engineering attack. The goal is to damage the credibility of the target, manipulate user perception, and spread false information and defamation.

Malware and malicious insiders account for one-third of all cybercrime costs. There are countless types of cyberattacks but the most common ones are:

  • Malware – computer viruses that can damage or disrupt a computer system.
  • Phishing – online fraud in which someone tricks you into revealing personal information such as your password or bank account number.
  • Man in the middle – a hacker sitting in between two parties, intercepting and altering communications between them.
  • Ransomware – malware that encrypts a user’s computer system and demands a ransom from the victim to decrypt them.
  • Denial of Service (DoS) – a hacker tries to stop a server from working by flooding it with requests.
  • Keylogger – software that records all the keystrokes that are typed on a computer.

It is estimated that cyberattack has increased by 38% in 2022 compared to 2021. Moreover, cybercrime is expected to cost the world USD 8 trillion annually in 2023. More than 91% of cyber attacks start with an email to an unexpected victim. But why there is a rise in cyberattacks?

Why cyberattacks are increasing?

Cyberattacks are becoming increasingly common in the digital world. With more and more people and businesses relying on the internet for their day-to-day activities, cybercriminals are finding new ways to exploit vulnerabilities in systems and networks.

There are a variety of reasons why there is a rise in cyberattacks, including outdated security measures, a lack of awareness about cybersecurity threats, and an increase in organized criminal activity. But perhaps the most important reason is our increasing reliance on technology.

Cyberattacks are more likely to succeed when they are aimed at entities that rely heavily on technology. In 2022, 69% of the world’s population has access to the internet. There are 4.9 billion active internet users in the world.

In 2022, there were an estimated 4.5 billion social media users, 7.26 billion mobile users, and 14.4 billion connected devices. Today’s every interaction with digital technology generates some kind of data. Globally, the world created, copied, and consumed an estimated 97 zettabytes (97 trillion gigabytes) of data in 2022.

We are living in the age of big data and connectivity. The increase in data and connected devices has opened up an array of opportunities for cybercriminals to launch attacks. As the number of devices connected to the internet increases, so do the chances of a successful attack.

The information that we generate online contains valuable information for businesses. With data becoming a valuable asset for businesses and individuals alike, the risk of a cyberattack is now greater than ever before.

Today we can do almost everything online, from communicating and educating to working, shopping, and entertaining. But in the digital age, conducting more transactions online and providing more personal information has made us vulnerable to cyberthreats.

As our reliance on technology increases, so does the risk of malicious actors taking advantage of our personal information. Cybercriminals are increasingly targeting individuals and organizations by exploiting weaknesses in their security systems.

This has caused a rise in data breaches, identity theft, and other cybercrimes that put consumers at risk. It is estimated that around 30,000 websites are hacked every day as phishing attacks are increasing and becoming more sophisticated.

Cybersecurity risks are becoming more complex, as they involve not just technology but human behavior as well. It is estimated that more than 90% of cyberattacks are due to human errors.

From social media platforms that collect user data for targeted advertising, to websites that ask for sensitive information such as bank details or passwords, people are providing hackers with the ammunition they need to launch cyberattacks.

The main reasons for this are people’s willingness to share personal information online, as well as human errors that lead to security vulnerabilities. Cybercriminals can take advantage of human error by tricking people into revealing sensitive information or downloading malicious software.

Furthermore, human errors such as weak passwords and a lack of software updates can also make systems vulnerable to attacks. These two factors combined give rise to an increasing number of cyberattacks every year.

On top of that, victims continue to make the same cybersecurity mistakes, like clicking on phishing links or failing to keep company software updated. Criminal groups are still finding it too easy to exploit weak points as people fail to execute cybersecurity best practices.

For example, cybercriminals can send fake emails that appear to come from reputable companies requesting users to update their account information by clicking on a link within the email itself. If users click on the link, they may find themselves infected with malware giving the hacker access to their online accounts.

This lack of awareness has given cybercriminals the gun to fire at users and its bullet is phishing attacks.  It is estimated that in 2021, 323,972 internet users fell victim to phishing attacks, and nearly 1 billion emails were exposed, affecting 1 in 5 internet users. Email-based attacks dominated the threat landscape in 2021.

Moreover, we are seeing a lot of people working remotely nowadays. Remote workers often lack the necessary security measures in place that would protect their data from malicious actors. Without the right security protocols in place, they are at risk of becoming victims of cyberattacks such as phishing emails or ransomware attacks.

In North America alone, 25% of all professional jobs will be executed remotely by the end of 2023. Hench companies need to ensure that their remote workers have adequate security measures in place and that all smart devices are properly secured against cyber-attacks.

The increasing number of smart devices has made it easier for cybercriminals to launch attacks on companies. But the problem is not the device itself, the major concern is companies cutting on security patch to make their products more affordable which open the door to malicious actors.

This can result in data breaches, financial losses, and reputational damage. By failing to invest in security patching, companies are unwittingly creating an environment that is ripe for cybercriminals to exploit and wreak havoc.

As these devices are connected to corporate networks, they provide an easy target for hackers to gain access to confidential information. It is estimated that more than 1.5 billion attacks on smart devices were reported in 2021.

In 2023, it is estimated that there will be 3X more connected devices on Earth than humans. And in 20 years there will be up to 45 trillion networked sensors embedded in the world around us. Hence investing in cybersecurity will be the utmost priority.

Companies should also educate their employees on how to recognize and respond appropriately when a cyberthreat is detected. A company’s failure to implement strong security practices may make it an appealing target for hackers looking for easy targets.

Cybercriminals know how weak security practices can affect businesses and will exploit these weaknesses when they identify them. Small businesses are the easiest target for hackers. They are at risk due to their limited resources and lack of knowledge about cybersecurity best practices.

Cyberattacks on small firms increase by more than 150% between 2020–2021. A company’s poor security practices could include using unencrypted websites or storing sensitive data on insecure servers that do not require passwords before accessing them online.

Moreover, around 19% of enterprise professionals use easily guessed passwords or share passwords across accounts. However, even if cyber threats are a growing concern for small businesses, geopolitical tensions are only making the situation worse.

Geopolitical tensions can also be exploited by hackers as they often target countries or organizations with whom they have a political disagreement. State espionage is the second leading motivator of cyberattacks after financial gain.

Organized cybercrimes are on the rise and the likelihood of detecting and prosecuting one is as low as 0.05% according to the World Economic Forum. In 2020, cyberattacks were rated the fifth top-rated risk.

Nearly 2.5 million people fell victim to cybercrime in 2021. Moreover, cyber threats have expanded from targeting smartphones, computers, and networks to cars, railways, power grids, planes, hospitals, etc… hence here are the consequences of cyberattacks.

Impact of cyberattacks

Cyberattacks are becoming increasingly common and can have devastating consequences for businesses and individuals alike. They can lead to financial losses, data breaches, reputational damage, and even physical harm. For instance, since 2020, experts saw a 600% spike in malicious emails.

The increase in cyberattacks is causing major disruption and financial losses for organizations. It is estimated that the global average cost of a data breach is USD 4.35 million. In the United States, this number stands at USD 9.44 million. And the average ransomware recovery cost has reached nearly USD 2 million.

Cyberthreats can range from minor data breaches to large-scale ransomware incidents that can cause significant damage to a company’s reputation and bottom line. For instance, it is estimated that companies’ stock value dropped by an average of 7.5% after a breach, and ransomware attacks cost USD 159.4 billion in downtime alone in 2021.

Businesses are particularly at risk as they hold important information about customers and employees and have a lot of resources that can be exploited. Most cyberattacks are financially motivated, but what is worst is that 95% of cybersecurity incidents are due to human errors.

The impact of a cyberattack can be devastating for businesses. It can also have far-reaching consequences for the global economy as a whole. For instance, the WannaCry ransomware attack was launched in one country and spread to more than 150 countries around the world, resulting in USD 4 billion in losses.

Moreover, half of SMEs are experiencing a surge in some kind of cyber threat. The most common forms of cyberattacks include ransomware and phishing attacks. On average ransomware attack occurs every 11 seconds, costing more than USD 20 billion.

However, as hackers get more sophisticated, so do their methods for gaining access to systems and stealing data. The cost of cybercrime is not just the financial loss, but also the damage caused by the theft of sensitive customer data.

For instance, 500 million user data was leaked from WhatsApp and put for sale. Another big incident was the Equifax data breach where 143 million users’ sensitive information was leaked. A data breach can lead to identity theft, fraud, and other cybercrimes that can put customers’ personal information at risk.

Identity sprawl makes up 80% of security breaches. But data breaches can have also serious implications for any organization, from financial losses to reputational damage. Furthermore, it may also result in regulatory fines and penalties, as well as legal action from affected customers.

For example, Meta was fined USD 277 million for the leak of half a billion data and Equifax pay around USD 700 million in data breach settlement. It is important to understand the impacts of cyberattacks to protect yourself and your business from them.

A study found that it costs an average of USD 4.2 million to respond to a single breach incident not including the cost of lost business or reputation damage because customers lose trust in your brand after an attack occurs.

A cybercrime can easily translate into millions in losses over time if not businesses are adequately prepared for it. But what’s worst is that it takes companies more than six months to detect a data breach.

The frequency and severity of cyberattacks are expected to increase in 2023, with damage from ransomware attacks reaching USD 30 billion. Cyberthreats are a growing concern for companies of all types and sizes. The financial cost of these attacks can be high, but the impact on customers and other stakeholders may be even greater.

With so many threats out there, businesses need to take precautions now to avoid becoming victims later on down the line. You can’t control who attacks you, but you can control how you react to those attacks.

How to prevent cyberattacks

Cybercrime is a growing problem, and there is no one solution to stop it. However, we can work to protect ourselves and our data by being aware of the dangers posed by cyberattacks and using proper security measures such as:

  • Use antivirus software with malware protection. This will prevent hackers from installing malware or ransomware on your device, even if you accidentally click on a link or download an attachment.
  • Use complex passwords and enable multi-factor authentication on your accounts or device using an authenticator app. Use strong passwords that include letters, numbers, symbols, and upper- and lower-case characters.
  • Don’t click on links you don’t recognize or respond to messages you don’t trust. Beware of phishing attacks, which are scams that come in the form of unsolicited emails, texts, and calls.
  • Regularly checking your credit report and bank statements, you can spot any suspicious activity early on. Hackers are almost always after your financial accounts.
  • Don’t ignore software or operating system updates. Hackers use vulnerabilities in outdated software to stage their attacks, so keep your devices and software up-to-date and secure.
  • Use a VPN when using public Wi-Fi, because public medium can be easily hacked. Whenever you’re using it for anything sensitive, even checking your email use a VPN to protect your data.
  • Avoid oversharing on social media and other sites and limit what information is visible to others online. Everything you share becomes your online footprint, which hackers can use to launch social engineering attacks or guess your password.
  • Install a firewall to protect and block unauthorized access to your computer. It also protects your computer from viruses and other malicious software.
  • Regularly back up your data to avoid the costly and time-consuming problems associated with data loss. Data loss can lead to lost revenue, customers, intellectual and productivity. Hence keeping a backup is important.

Future of cyberattacks

Today, cyberattacks have become a multi-trillion-dollar industry. It is estimated that cybercrime could cost the world USD 10.5 trillion annually by 2025. Increasing automation of small-scale attacks will likely make them even more profitable. Some estimates even reveal that cybercrime could reach USD 23.84 trillion by 2027.

The future of cyberattack is notoriously difficult to predict. Today’s cybercriminals have evolved into larger, more sophisticated organizations and can evade detection. As hackers become more skilled and the world increasingly embedded with technology, they will be able to exploit vulnerabilities in more systems and networks.

Future cybercrimes are expected to become more and more sophisticated and deadlier as the internet and technology become more prevalent. Billionaire businessman and investor Warren Buffet said during a Berkshire Hathaway meeting that cybercrime is the “number one problem with mankind”, and cyberattacks are a bigger threat to humanity than nuclear weapons.

The future of cyberattacks is expected to grow even more complex and dangerous as technology advances. Artificial intelligence (AI) is a growing trend that is enhancing many human activities, but it will change how we think about cyberattacks in the future.

The future of cyberattacks will involve the advanced use of AI and machine learning (ML) that can automate processes such as scanning for vulnerabilities in networks. AI-based attacks can also be used to intensively target specific individuals or organizations, making them even more dangerous.

Additionally, AI cyber attacks can be used for espionage purposes or even political manipulation. The technology can also be used for research and development of new malware or engineering new attacks. This will make attacks more sophisticated and difficult to detect and defend against.

In order to protect against these increasingly sophisticated attacks, organizations must invest in robust security measures such as advanced malware protection systems, artificial intelligence for cybersecurity, and employee training programs.

As technology continues to evolve, so too will the methods used by cybercriminals. And the increasing vulnerability of the digital world is the amount of cheap connected devices in circulation. The Internet of Things is revolutionizing the way we interact with our environment, but it also brings with it a new era of cyberattacks.

With the proliferation of internet of things devices, hackers have new ways and more opportunities to exploit vulnerabilities and gain access to networks. Cheap IoT devices are being used as an entry point for malicious actors to gain access to entire networks and launch attacks on a larger scale.

By exploiting these vulnerable devices, hackers can launch sophisticated cyberattacks resulting in data breaches and other malicious activities. The use of cheap IoT devices makes it easier for hackers to gain access to an organization’s network without detection.

Hackers can then use this access to steal confidential information or launch ransomware attacks that can cause significant damage. For instance, the global cost of ransomware attacks is expected to go beyond USD 265 billion in the next decades. Organizations need to be aware of the risks associated with IoT attack and take steps to protect their networks from potential cyberattacks.

But there’s an even bigger trend going on in the world today. Blockchain and cryptocurrency are the technologies that everyone is talking about and cyber criminals have already found ways to exploit these advances. Cryptojacking is a growing threat in the cyber security landscape.

It involves malicious actors using computer resources to mine cryptocurrencies without the user’s knowledge or consent. With the rise of digital currencies, this type of attack is becoming increasingly common.

The threat of cryptojacking is further compounded by the fact that it can be difficult to detect and prevent. It has already caused significant disruption in some industries, and this trend is likely to continue as more organizations become targets for these types of attacks.

As such, organizations need to have measures in place that can protect them from potential threats posed by cryptojackers. This includes deploying effective security solutions as well as educating users on how to recognize and respond appropriately when they encounter suspicious activity on their systems.

Moreover, with the emergence of quantum computers, cyberattacks are set to become more sophisticated and dangerous than ever before. Quantum computing has the potential to revolutionize the way we think about security, as it can be used to crack codes faster than traditional computers.

This means that hackers can gain access to sensitive data faster and with greater accuracy. Quantum computing also has implications for cryptography, as it can break through existing encryption protocols. And another major cyber issue is synthetic media and the emergence of deepfakes.

Deepfakes are AI-generated images, videos, and audio that are designed to look and sound like real people or events. These AI content are becoming more sophisticated and harder to detect, they are being used for malicious purposes such as impersonating people online or spreading false information.

This means that cyberattacks in the future may become even more difficult to defend against as attackers use deepfakes to gain access to sensitive information or manipulate public opinion. And this will become an even bigger issue as more people adopt immersive technology.

As the world is slowly transitioning to virtual reality, cyberattacks are becoming more sophisticated and harder to detect. The metaverse, which is a shared virtual space where people can interact can open up a new avenue of attacks for malicious actors.

With the help of social engineering techniques, hackers will be able to target individuals in the metaverse with ease. This means that companies and organizations have to be extra vigilant and understand the different types of attacks and how to protect themselves and their user against them.

Cybersecurity experts warn that the future of cyberattacks will be more sophisticated and malicious than ever before. To protect against these threats, organizations must invest in robust cybersecurity measures such as encryption protocols, authentication systems, and threat detection tools.

Final words

Cyberattacks have become increasingly common in recent years. They are occurring with greater frequency and evolving in complexity. Cybercrime has become a billion-dollar industry, with millions of people falling victim every year.

Hackers are getting smarter and more innovative in their approach and the malware they develop. They always find a way to access your system and information. And unfortunately, it’s not always as simple as deleting it from your computer or changing your password.

Sometimes hackers will use your information for financial gain or sell it on the dark web to other criminals who want access to your accounts and private information too. Businesses and individuals need to take more proactive steps if they want to avoid becoming a target of cyberattacks.

Cyber threats are becoming a major concern for businesses, governments, and individuals. As cybercriminals become more sophisticated, it is essential for organizations to understand the potential consequences of a cyberattack and take steps to mitigate the risk of falling victim to such an attack.

As we continue to rely more and more on computer systems, it’s important that we understand the risks that come with them and how best to protect against those potential threats. All online users need to be proactive in preventing cybercrime while protecting their valuable data stored online.