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Top 10 Common Types of Network Security Attacks Explained

Network security attacks have gained momentum over the past years, which highlights the need for network defenders. Learn more about network security attacks and their types.

Microsoft, Cyberattack on Olympus

The risk of network security attacks is mounting as businesses transition to a remote work environment and embrace sophisticated technology.

The IT (Information Technology) and security professionals’ roles are also evolving rapidly. Most organizations entrust them to keep all network endpoints secure to prevent theft and damage.

With online shared resources for storing sensitive data and trade secrets gaining prominence, and data exchange moving to cloud infrastructure, the risks are enormous.

So, what are network threats? This article explains network attacks, the common types of network security threats and attacks to give you a better understanding.

Network Security Attacks Explained

Cyberattacks in the form of data theft, ransomware etc., can bring the operations of any organization to a halt. For instance, the ransomware attack on Colonial Pipeline on May 7, 2021, disrupted entire operations, and it is labeled as one of the most significant cyberattacks on American energy architects.

Network security attacks attempt to disrupt an organization’s operations, steal data, or corrupt files by gaining unauthorized access to the company’s network.

So, these threats are a matter of grave concern, and therefore, it is even more critical for companies to secure their network from network breaches.

Cybercriminals intrude on an organization’s network and system for numerous reasons. The motives behind the actions of cybercriminals can range from greed and political reasons to personal espionage and competition. So given the damage cyberattacks can cause, they are detrimental to a company’s finances and balance sheet and hampers their reputation.

Therefore, an organization must have a skilled cyber workforce who can design robust network security policies to protect their client data and other digital assets.

Network engineers, IT and Security professionals, system analysts and administrators should all have a sound knowledge of network security attack types to detect, analyze and mitigate the risks.

Therefore, it is essential to learn of the common network security threats to minimize the risk of a data breach.

Common Types of Networking Attacks

We have previously mentioned how network threats and attacks can hinder your network security and applications. Furthermore, as people become more reliant on digital communication technologies, common types of networking attacks are on the rise. Here, we discuss the top 10 networking threats and attacks.

1. Computer Virus

Computer viruses are one of the most common network security attacks that can cause sizeable damage to your data.

A type of malware, they are unique pieces of code that can wreak havoc and spread from computer to computer. Did you know that computer viruses poison at least 30% of the world’s computers? Malware infections are quite common, and a virus-like Trojan horse can severely damage a system network. If you click on an email with a malicious link or download links from infected websites, these viruses can corrupt your files, infect other computers from your list and steal your personal information.

 2. Malware

One of the most dangerous cybercrimes that can cause massive damage is a Malware attack. Hackers attempt to gain unauthorized access into the target system and disrupt or corrupt the files and data through malicious codes called malware. Moreover, it can affect both internal and external endpoint devices of a network.

3. Computer Worm 

Computer worms are nothing but a malicious type of software that spreads from one infected computer to the other by duplicating copies. They further their objectives by exploiting network vulnerabilities. Moreover, it can affect your system without any help from external users.

4. Phishing

Another common type of network security attack is phishing which is a form of social engineering attack. Cybercriminals trick users into clicking on a fraudulent email link or message which appears legitimate. So, when unsuspecting targets click the link, the malware is downloaded into their phones or systems, allowing the hackers to steal sensitive data or information such as credit card numbers or banking passwords.

5. Botnet

Botnets comprise the network of compromised systems connected to the Internet. The hacker gains access to all these devices on the network and manipulates the bots to send spam, perform data theft and enable DDoS (Distributed Denial of Service) attacks.

6. DoS (Denial of Service) and DDoS Attacks

All of us must have experienced website crashes at some point or the other. Sometimes, the server can crash due to a surge in the website traffic either due to a product launch, a new promotional plan, or a sale.

However, website crashes also happen due to cyberattacks in the form of DoS and DDoS attacks. As a result, the system crashes because of malicious traffic overload, and the users cannot access the website. These types of network security attacks aim to cripple the IT infrastructure of the victim network.

The difference between DoS and DDoS attacks is that hackers launch DoS attacks through one host network. DDoS attacks are more sophisticated, and attackers can use several computers to exploit targeted systems. Since the attack is launched from several compromised systems, it’s hard to detect DDoS threats.

7. Man-in-the-middle

Another generic form of network threats arises out of MIM (man-in-the-middle) attacks. In this type of cyberattack, black hats hijack the private communication intended between two parties. By intercepting the communication, the attacker tries to monitor and control their messages to either disrupt files, steal confidential data or spy on the victims.

8. Ransomware

Ransomware attacks have gained momentum in 2021. We have witnessed a bevy of such threats recently that have had severe repercussions. Ransomware is malicious software that hackers encrypt all files on target systems, networks, and servers. Other ransomware campaigns can gain access to a network and lock files until a ransom is paid in exchange for the decryption key by exploiting weak passwords and other vulnerabilities.

9. 5G Based Attacks

5G-based attacks are a  more advanced form of network security threat. While 5G networks enable high-speed transfers of data, it also raises the risk of cyberattacks. Hackers are attacking multiple systems, mobiles, and IoT (Internet of Things) networks using 5G devices to deploy swarm-based network security attacks. The attacker can also make changes in real-time.

10. SQL Injection Attacks

SQL Injection attacks are one of the most common attack vectors that hackers use to steal data. This type of network attack is common on poorly designed applications and websites. Since they contain vulnerable user-input fields (such as search and login pages, product and support request forms, comments area, and so on) that hackers can easily hack by changing the scripts.

SQL injection attack is a severe threat and one of the major attack vectors that hackers use. Moreover, it can easily infect or exploit any website that uses a SQL-based database.

We explained the importance of network security measures previously. But to implement these measures, an organization needs to have a qualified workforce with the required skill set.

Therefore, companies need a skilled Network Defender to keep their businesses afloat and safe from network adversaries. Hence, upskilling your team with a credible program in network defense is the key to staying one step ahead of cybercriminals.

Join the Certified Network Defender (C|ND) Program  

If you are looking for a credible program to upskill your talent or wish to train your IT employees in network defense, EC Council’s Certified Network Defender (C|ND) certification program is the next-generation network training you need. The program modules aim to convert network administrators into network defense experts.

Network security goes beyond just configuring firewall security or installing an antivirus. Increasing network security attacks pose a serious threat to organizations’ cybersecurity measures. Network defenders protect your systems from falling prey to malware, ransomware attacks, and other security breaches.

Recognized and Accredited by DoD 8570 & ANSI/ISO/IEC 17024

Get your Network Security Certification at EC-Council


  1. What can be the impact of a network attack?

Network security attacks can affect your organization’s reputation and lead to data theft and damage. With online shared resources for storing sensitive data and trade secrets gaining prominence, and data exchange moving to cloud infrastructure, the risks are enormous.

  1. What is the biggest threat to network security?

No network, no matter how secure, is safe from intrusions and cybercriminals. Some of the severe emerging threats to network security are DDoS attacks, man-in-the-middle attacks, phishing attacks, inadequate network protocols, and ransomware attacks.


  1. https://securitytrails.com/blog/top-10-common-network-security-threats-explained
  2. https://blog.newcloudnetworks.com/10-types-of-network-security-attacks