Four kinds of cyberattacks

  • Digital Culture

What cyberattacks are and what kinds of them exist so as to prevent them. Learn more here and find out how to train in this discipline.


Cybersecurity is currently one of the most important disciplines for keeping the data of companies and individuals secure. Training in IT security is key to creating specialists who can stave off and resolve the different attacks we have to deal with. In this article you’ll find out more about what cyberattacks are and what kinds of them exist.

A cyberattack is an action that’s harmful to the systems (computers, IT networks and other electronic devices) of companies and individuals. These systems are vulnerable to cyberattacks. It’s therefore important for you to know what kinds of cyberattacks exist and how to deal with them.

The four kinds of cyberattacks and how to deal with them

  1. Phishing

The term phishing comes from the word fish. It’s one of the most common kinds of cyberattacks. You’re likely to have suffered from one. Phishing is a kind of malicious attack that involves receiving emails that seem to come from trustworthy sources but actually contain a link that jeopardises personal or business information and other data.

Have you ever received a suspicious email or SMS? They want you to click on the link. And, to ensure that you fall into the trap, they have an aesthetic design and a way of doing things that seems very similar to that of the trusted source. But you should ignore them.

The criminals obtain your data, mainly your passwords. They can also obtain more confidential information or impersonate you. 

  1. Spear Phishing

Spear phishing is a variant of the above. It refers to fishing with a spear or harpoon. Instead of a single email, this kind of phishing attempts to gain the trust of the recipient by means of a series of messages. In spear phishing the emails are usually personalised and they primarily have one target.

3. Whaling

Whaling is another variant of phishing. However, this kind of cyberattack is specifically geared towards the CEOs and CFOs of companies, as well as other senior officials within them. Whaling can be very persuasive; the data are stolen in such a way that the fraudulent messages appear to be coming from an important person or someone in a senior position within the organisation.  

For example, the attacker may impersonate one of the company’s executives or directors and ask the CEO for confidential information via email. If he’s smart, he won’t take the bait.

4. Malware

Malware is what often accompanies phishing emails that steal information. In other words, it’s the software that damages and disables a computer or IT system. It does so maliciously and, of course, silently. 

The malware category includes multiple examples of this kind of malicious software. Some of them are sure to ring a bell:

  • Ransomware
  • Adware
  • Spyware
  • Cryptomalware
  • Trojans
  • Worms
  • Viruses
  • Keyloggers
  • Bots
  • Logic bombs

As we’ve seen with other kinds of fraud, the most common ways of spreading malware are via emails, pop-up alerts and hidden downloads.

Train as an expert in cybersecurity

Spain is the fourth most cybersecure country in the world, according to the data in the Digital Society in Spain 2022 report. Companies are coming across a growing need to protect themselves from cyberattacks and malware and cybersecurity specialists are in ever greater demand. 

Training as a cybersecurity expert is an excellent option if you want to broaden your career options. Now that you’re familiar with the main kinds of cyberattacks, all that remains is for you to further your education. If you’re seeking to become a specialist in cybersecurity, programming campus 42 is the ideal place to train at. Find out more about the free courses in cybersecurity!

Four kinds of cyberattacks
Four kinds of cyberattacks