Define: Attack Vector

A cyber attack vector is a method of gaining unauthorized access to a private IT network. Cybercriminals exploit attack vectors to launch cyberattacks and inject malicious payloads.

Attack vectors can be digital, such as a software vulnerability, or analog, such as an employee that can be influenced to divulge private access credentials.

Third-party vendors are critical attack vectors since they have access to the private data of each business they’ve partnered with. Because of this, when a vendor is compromised, all of its clients often become compromised too.

This type of cyberattack is known as a supply chain attack and because of its efficiency, it’s quickly becoming the favourite choice amongst cybercriminals.

Supply chain attack trend 2019-2020
Supply chain attacks have exploded in popularity since the COVID-19 pandemic began.

17 Most Common Attack Vectors

The 17 most common attack vectors are:

  1. Compromised Credentials
  2. Weak Credentials
  3. Uneducated Employees
  4. Insider Threats
  5. Poor Encryption
  6. Unpatched Software
  7. Security Vulnerabilities 
  8. Third-party Vendors
  9. Phishing Attacks
  10. Ransomware
  11. Brute Force Attacks
  12. Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) Attacks
  13. SQL Injections
  14. Trojans
  15. Session Hijacking
  16. Cross-Site Scripting (XSS)
  17. Man-in-the-Middle Attacks

Key takeaways

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    Attack vectors offer cybercriminals potential pathways to private networks and resources.
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    Third and fourth-party vendors are commonly overlooked attack vectors that could facilitate unauthorized sensitive data access if they are compromised.
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    Organizations should implement cyber awareness training to address the human element of attack vectors.
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