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Top 10 Most Common Types of Network Attacks

Sarah Marshall | 8 min read| Published On - April 30, 2024

Types of Network Attacks

Network attacks can cripple business operations by disrupting networks, stealing sensitive data, or deploying ransomware. The devastating impact of these attacks was highlighted by the Colonial Pipeline hack in 2021, which led to widespread disruptions in the energy sector. Organizations must prioritize network security by investing in skilled cyber professionals such as network engineers, IT specialists, and system administrators. Education plays a crucial role in mitigating the risk of cybersecurity breaches by fostering an understanding of potential threats and the development of robust security measures. By taking proactive steps, organizations can protect their networks from network attacks and safeguard their critical information.

What are Network Attacks?

Network attacks are malicious attempts to gain unauthorized entry into an organization’s network. Two main categories of network attacks are passive and active. Passive attacks involve monitoring or stealing sensitive information without altering data, while active attacks involve accessing and modifying data, potentially causing harm. In network attacks, the focus is on breaching the corporate network perimeter and gaining access to internal systems. Attackers may also incorporate other attack methods once inside the network, such as compromising endpoints, spreading malware, or exploiting vulnerabilities.

What is Network Security?

Network security involves safeguarding computer networks and the data they transmit from unauthorized access, use, disclosure, disruption, modification, or destruction. It encompasses a range of practices and technologies designed to protect valuable data and resources from malicious actors. Network security measures protect against external threats such as hackers and malware, as well as internal vulnerabilities that can compromise data integrity and confidentiality.

Types of Network Attacks

Below are the most common types of network attacks:


Malware attacks pose a serious threat as hackers are able to gain unauthorized entry into target systems and unleash malicious codes that disrupt or corrupt files and data. These attacks have the potential to impact both internal and external endpoint devices within a network, emphasizing the importance of robust cybersecurity measures to safeguard against such threats.


These malicious software programs can spread rapidly from one computer to another, and their destructive capabilities include corrupting files, infecting connected devices, and stealing sensitive personal information, making them a serious concern for individuals and organizations alike. These viruses often spread through deceptive methods, such as malicious email links or infected website downloads, highlighting the importance of being vigilant and exercising caution when accessing online content.


Computer worms are a form of harmful software that propagate by copying themselves from one infected computer to another. These worms take advantage of weaknesses in network security to achieve their goals, and can infect systems without assistance from external users.


Phishing attacks use social engineering to deceive users into clicking on a counterfeit email link or message that appears authentic. By clicking on the link, malware is installed onto their devices, allowing hackers to access and pilfer sensitive information like credit card details or banking passwords.


Botnets compromise systems interconnected through the Internet, granting hackers unprecedented access to an extensive network of devices. With this control, hackers can unleash spam campaigns, plunder sensitive data, and launch debilitating DDoS attacks, disrupting critical online services and infrastructure. The widespread presence of botnets poses a significant threat to cybersecurity, as they facilitate sophisticated cyberattacks that can cripple digital environments and compromise user data and privacy.

DoS (Denial of Service) and DDoS Attacks

Denial-of-Service (DoS) attacks involve malicious actors employing a single host network to launch an attack, while Distributed Denial-of-Service (DDoS) attacks are more complex, using multiple compromised computers to exploit systems. DDoS attacks can result in sudden traffic spikes during product launches, promotions, or sales, which can overwhelm servers. DDoS attacks are particularly challenging to detect due to the involvement of numerous compromised hosts, making it difficult to trace the origin of the attack.


Man-in-the-Middle (MIM) attacks occur when malicious actors intercept and disrupt private communications between two unsuspecting parties. These cybercriminals, known as “black hats,” effectively position themselves as the middleman, allowing them to monitor and control the information exchanged between the victims. By doing so, they can disrupt files, intercept sensitive data, and engage in espionage.


We have witnessed a surge in ransomware attacks in recent years. Ransomware targets systems, networks, and servers, encrypting all files within their reach. Ransomware can infiltrate networks, gaining unauthorized access to sensitive data and rendering it inaccessible. The attackers then demand payment in exchange for decrypting the files, holding organizations and individuals hostage. Weak passwords and vulnerabilities in systems provide gateways for ransomware to exploit and establish its stronghold, locking files and disrupting essential operations.

5G Based Attacks

The advent of 5G networks, while enabling ultra-fast data transmission, has also amplified the number of network attacks. Exploiting the high bandwidth and low latency offered by 5G, malicious actors have devised swarm-based network attacks that target mobile devices, internet of things (IoT) networks, and even critical systems. These attacks allow attackers to infiltrate and manipulate systems in real-time, potentially causing severe damage or data theft. The sophistication of 5G-based attacks has made them a formidable challenge for cybersecurity professionals.

SQL Injection Attacks

SQL Injection attacks pose a significant threat to businesses, enabling hackers to exploit vulnerabilities in poorly designed applications and websites with unsecured user-input fields. These attacks can lead to data theft by compromising any website using an SQL-based database. Upskilling teams through credible network defense programs is paramount in mitigating cybercriminal activities, ensuring the protection of businesses against network attacks and the safeguarding of sensitive data.

Protection from Network Attacks

Below are the most notable ways to protect your company from network attacks:

Network Segmentation

To enhance network security, it is crucial to segregate the network using methods such as subnetting or VLANs. This involves dividing the network into distinct zones based on security requirements. By isolating different areas of the network, the potential damage caused by a security breach can be limited to a single zone, preventing its spread to other critical areas. Additionally, this approach forces attackers to take extra steps and overcome multiple obstacles to access other zones, adding a layer of protection to sensitive data and systems.

Proxy Server for Internet Access Control

To regulate and monitor access to the internet, a proxy server can be deployed. This transparent proxy allows administrators to control and inspect all user traffic, preventing unchecked internet access. It also helps verify the legitimacy of users, mitigating the risk posed by bots and automated mechanisms. By whitelisting only approved websites for corporate use, organizations can restrict access to potentially malicious or inappropriate content, reducing the likelihood of security breaches and data loss.

Optimal Placement of Security Devices

To maximize the effectiveness of network security measures, it is essential to properly position security devices. Firewalls should be strategically placed at network zone junctions, rather than solely at the network edge. Additionally, if dedicated firewalls cannot be deployed, organizations can use built-in firewall functionality in switches and routers to provide basic protection. Anti-DDoS devices or cloud services should be positioned at the network edge to mitigate distributed denial-of-service attacks. Load balancers should be carefully placed outside the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ), as their exposure outside the secure zone can compromise network security.

Network Address Translation (NAT)

Implementing Network Address Translation (NAT) provides an additional layer of security by translating internal IP addresses into addresses accessible on public networks. This technique enables multiple computers to share a single IP address when connecting to the internet. As a result, it reduces the number of exposed IP addresses, making it more challenging for attackers to identify and target specific hosts. NAT also enforces a requirement that all inbound and outbound traffic must pass through a NAT device, providing increased visibility and control over network communications.

How Lepide Helps

The Lepide Data Security Platform helps with network attacks in the following ways:

Security Configuration Management

Lepide can detect and alert on deviations from predefined security configurations in real-time. This helps to enforce consistent security settings across the network, ensuring that devices are configured securely.

Incident Response

Lepide aggregates security alerts from multiple sources into a single console. The intuitive dashboard helps with investigating and responding to incidents quickly. There is also a ‘threshold alerting’ feature that automates response actions to minimize the impact of attacks.

Compliance Reporting

Lepide helps organizations meet regulatory compliance requirements by providing reports on suspicious activity relating to security controls and configurations. This demonstrates compliance to auditors, reducing the risk of penalties or reputational damage.
If you’d like to see how the Lepide Data Security Platform can help to protect you from network attacks, start your free trial today.

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