Cybercrime terms explained

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Malware

Used to describe malicious software including Spyware, Ransomware, viruses and worms. Malware breaches a network through a vulnerability, usually when a user clicks a link in an email with then installs the software.

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Ransomware

Blocks access to key areas of the network; usually there is a demand for payment to obtain the key to unlock access.

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Worms

Can modify and delete files on a system and can install further malicious software. Worms can also replicate themselves into different systems or servers and disrupt multiple systems.

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Man-in-the-middle attack

Also known as eavesdropping attacks, this is when a hacker inserts themselves into a two-party transaction and removes data which is shared between the two parties. For example, using an instant messenger service to listen in to a conversation in which bank account details are shared or customer data is discussed.

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SQL injection

A Structured Query Language (SQL) injection occurs when an attacker inserts malicious code into a server that uses SQL and forces the server to reveal information it normally would not. An attacker could carry out a SQWL injection simply by submitting malicious code into a vulnerable website search box.

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Spyware

Covertly obtains information by transmitting data from the hard drive

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Viruses

Disrupts the system and can render it inoperable

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Phishing

Sending fraudulent communications that appear to come from a reputable source, usually though an email. The goal is to gain card information, bank login details, a funds transfer from the victim, or to install malicious software into the victim’s computer.
Hackers will often have obtained access to your systems and will monitor internal emails to ensure the phishing email looks legitimate. It will often be written in the same way as a company official would usually write, with similar email signatures. Only when looking closer at the email address can you tell it’s not a legitimate company profile.

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Denial-of-service attacks

This is a flood of network traffic which exhausts the system resources and bandwidth. As a result, the system would be underpowered and unable to handle any legitimate requests, ultimately bringing the business to a standstill.

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Trojan or Trojan horse

A trojan is a program which hides in another useful program. Once the program is run the trojan opens up a back door into the victim’s system and allows the hacker uninterrupted access to the system to perform further attacks or data theft.

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