DEV Community


How Cyberattacks Ripple a Company’s Operations

Ather Owais
Ather Owais is a tech and cybersecurity enthusiast. He is a strong advocate for online privacy and security, following technological trends and their impact on today's digital era.
・4 min read

Cyberattacks have significantly escalated over the years, and attackers are making a killing by infiltrating into the company’s intricate processes.

What is a Cyberattack?

A cyberattack is a virtual assault carried out by cybercriminals using an internet-enabled device. Their main aim is to cripple the receivers’ device and render it of no use or hold the device for a ransom, which is how it became known as ransomware.
Types of Cyberattacks

The most common types of cyberattacks are:

  1. Denial-of-service (DoS) and distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks
  2. Man-in-the-middle (MitM) attack
  3. Phishing and spear-phishing attacks
  4. SQL injection attack
  5. Cross-site scripting (XSS) attack

When carrying out a cyberattack, there are two types of cyber criminals, one who carries out non-targeted cyberattacks and the other who carries out targeted cyberattacks. These individuals use varying techniques of carrying out a cyberattack depending on the nature of their attack.

Targeted Vs. Untargeted Cyberattacks

A targeted cyberattack means a company is chosen potentially because the attacker has ill intentions regarding the business or has been paid by an individual or a group to target the enterprise.

This type of attack requires special skills, and the hack itself could take months. During this type, the cybercriminal(s) would best strategize on how to infiltrate the company’s online infrastructure and target their devices.

Targeted cyberattacks tend to cause more damage than untargeted cyberattacks as they are customized to attack the company’s processes, devices, or users. It doesn’t matter if the personnel is at the office or home; the cyberattack can affect the company regardless of location. In these particular cases, the type of attack is typically either a spear-phishing or DDoS attack.

On the other hand, untargeted attacks are random attacks that target as many devices, processes, or users that the attacker can possibly reach. Without discriminating, untargeted attacks don’t hold back on the number of devices and users. The targeted devices could be hundreds to millions depending upon the level of cyberattack.

Social engineering attacks such as phishing, vishing, smishing, and ransomware are typical examples of a targeted cyberattack.

How Does a Cyberattack Work?

The widespread adaptability of the internet has led to significant advancements in technology and innovation, making our lives relatively easier than without the internet. Simultaneously, cybercriminals have also benefited from the internet and have advanced their illicit activities.

With significant progress in computing power, cybercriminals now carry out more cyberattacks than ever before. They are always one step ahead and cooking new ways to cause damage to users and businesses.

A cyberattack isn’t a single code or a malicious activity that stays the same. Cybercriminals carry out many cyberattacks such as phishing attacks, spyware, malware, ransomware, logic bombs, Trojan horses, adware, vishing, smishing, catfishing, malvertising, DNS attacks, DDoS attacks, pharming, brute force attack, spamming, and so much more.

Each cyberattack works uniquely with the primary intention of getting a hold of user data, money, gaining access to the system, manipulating or crippling the user’s device.

Once a company is targeted with a cyberattack, it can seriously damage its entire operations architecture. For instance, a company that manufactures steel via automated machines may find themselves in grave trouble if their systems are infected with malware that overwrites the codes and sets its own set of rules.

Norsk Hydro, a Norwegian aluminum company, faced this dilemma when they refused to cave into the cyber criminal's demands for money and spent over £45m trying to restore their business to full strength.

The sheer magnitude of the problem travels further as the US Power Grid became a cyberattack target on March 5, 2019. Although there was no blackout, the hackers used a firewall vulnerability to cause periodic "blind spots" for grid operators in the western United States for about 10 hours.

Learn more about Identity Theft

The Effects of a Cyberattack on a Company

Apart from holding a company’s devices and data for ransom, a cyberattack’s effects go way beyond.

The economic cost of a cyberattack

A single or multiple cyberattacks often result in substantial financial loss for the company. Here’s why:

· Theft of corporate data
· Theft of financial data such as bank details or credit card details
· Monetary theft
· Disruption of online services
· Termination of business contracts
· Cost of upgrading systems, repairing devices, and compensating affectees

The reputational damage due to a cyberattack

Whether it’s an online or offline business, the foundation of customer relationships is built on trust. Once a business faces a cyberattack that creates havoc, the customer relationship can wear away and lead to:

· Customers leaving the business
· Massive loss in sales
· Decrease in profits
· It’s not just the customers that are affected but the vendors and suppliers associated with the business. Any stakeholder would want to disassociate themselves from a business that has faced a cyberattack out of fear that their information is vulnerable; this has been proven to happen time and time again.

Legal consequences of a cyberattack

With data protection and privacy laws in place, businesses no longer have the freedom to walk away freely. There are consequences and heavy penalties if a company fails to secure its online realm and falls victim to a cyberattack.

The regulatory body may fine vast sums of money to the business or terminate their contract to offer their services.
This goes to show the long-lasting impact on a company and the repercussions of a cyberattack.

Discussion (0)