Hacking Types: The 3 Most Dangerous Infiltrations (2023)

By Tibor Moes / Updated: June 2023

Hacking Types: The 3 Most Dangerous Infiltrations (2023)

Hacking Types

Think of your computer or mobile device as a well-fortified castle. But instead of the marauding medieval armies, today, we are defending against an invisible army of hackers trying to break into our digital kingdom. They can be cunning, using various strategies or ‘hacking types’ to overtake our defenses, much like ancient war tactics. But don’t worry, understanding these tactics is the first step to a stronger defense!


Hacking types refer to various methods employed by cybercriminals to exploit vulnerabilities in computers or networks, ranging from password cracking to advanced persistent threats, each with its unique mode of operation and intent.

Type 1 – Phishing: It’s a digital version of the ‘Trojan Horse’ – hiding an attack within something that seems harmless. Phishing emails or messages look like they come from a trusted source, but they trick you into giving up your personal details. The creativity and social engineering behind these attacks make them particularly fascinating.

Type 2 – Zero-day exploit: Imagine finding a secret door in your house that you never knew existed. A zero-day exploit is akin to this, where hackers discover and exploit a software vulnerability before the developers find and fix it, hence the term ‘zero-day’. It’s a race against time that can have enormous implications.

Type 3 – Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS): Picture a crowded supermarket where you can’t move because there are too many people. A DDoS attack is similar – it overwhelms a network or website with so much traffic that it can’t cope, causing it to slow down or even crash. This brute-force approach, combined with its potential to disrupt on a large scale, is what makes it intriguing.

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Hacking Types In-depth


Imagine a magician’s trick. You’re asked to choose a card, any card, and while you’re busy admiring the elegant pattern on the back, the magician is already steps ahead, ready to reveal what you’ve chosen. That’s what it feels like to be on the receiving end of a phishing attack – you’re lulled into a false sense of security while the attacker is already ahead of the game.

Phishing is one of the most prevalent and crafty forms of hacking. You might think it’s as simple as getting a message that doesn’t quite look right. But it’s more cunning than that, more art than accident. It’s a sneaky, social game where hackers hide their true intentions behind the mask of familiarity, and even the most tech-savvy individuals can get reeled in.

The Bait

Just as a fisherman uses bait to lure fish, cyber attackers use intriguing emails or messages as their bait in phishing. These messages often look like they’ve been sent by a trusted source – it could be your bank, your internet provider, or even a coworker. They’ll use logos you recognize, language that matches the supposed sender, and urgent calls-to-action to convince you to bite.

The Hook

Once you take the bait by clicking a link or opening an attachment, the hook sets in. You might be taken to a webpage that looks like your bank’s login page, but it’s not. It’s a well-designed duplicate where every detail you enter—your username, your password—is being sent straight to the attacker.

The Catch

Phishing can lead to severe consequences. Cybercriminals can use your login details to access your accounts, steal your identity, drain your bank accounts, or even use your email to trick your contacts. The ripple effect can be catastrophic, not just for individuals but for companies and their customers, too.

The Defense

But don’t fret, you’re not defenseless against phishing. Awareness is your first line of defense. Knowing that phishing exists and how it operates is half the battle. Furthermore, always being suspicious of unexpected emails and messages, especially those that ask for personal information or require immediate action, can help protect you.

Never click on a link or download an attachment unless you’re certain it’s safe. When in doubt, contact the supposed sender directly via a trusted method to confirm. Using updated antivirus software and enabling two-factor authentication (2FA) can also add extra layers of protection to keep your digital castle secure.

So remember, next time you get an email or a message that seems a bit ‘phishy’, think twice. Is this the magician’s trick? Understanding and recognizing phishing is your ace in the hole, your secret weapon to keep your digital self safe in the vast ocean of the internet.

Zero-day exploit

Imagine you’re a treasure hunter. You’re in a race against a rival, both of you searching for a hidden gem in an ancient castle. You’re scouring every corner, pushing every brick, and then, you find it – a secret door that leads straight to the treasure. This exciting scenario mirrors the world of zero-day exploits – an intense race where hackers are the treasure hunters, and the treasure they’re after is the valuable data hidden within our digital devices.

The Secret Door

A zero-day exploit starts with a software vulnerability – a bug or flaw that is unknown to the software developers. It’s like a secret door in the castle that even the castle’s owner doesn’t know about. The term ‘zero-day’ refers to the fact that developers have zero days to fix the vulnerability once it’s discovered by a hacker. They’re on the back foot from the get-go, trying to patch up the secret door even as the hackers are stepping through it.

The Treasure Hunt

Hackers use these vulnerabilities to gain unauthorized access to systems and data, often deploying malicious software or ‘malware’ to do their dirty work. It’s akin to sending a robot through the secret door to grab the treasure. These exploits can lead to stolen data, damaged systems, or even complete control over affected devices.

The High Stakes Race

What makes zero-day exploits so intriguing is the race that ensues. Once the secret door is discovered, it’s a high stakes chase between the hackers trying to exploit the vulnerability and the developers working to patch it. This dynamic can lead to a range of outcomes. If the developers win the race, they can close the secret door before any significant harm is done. But if the hackers get there first, the results can be disastrous.

Defense Against the Unknown

Protecting yourself against zero-day exploits can feel like trying to prepare for a surprise party—you know something might happen, but you don’t know when or how. But don’t worry, there are still strategies you can use.

One of the most effective defenses is keeping your software up to date. Software updates often include patches for known vulnerabilities, so by regularly updating, you can minimize your risk. Implementing a reliable security software is also key—it can detect and quarantine many types of malware.

On a larger scale, organizations can employ strategies like network segmentation, which isolates systems from one another, reducing the potential spread of an exploit. Regularly backing up important data is another critical practice, as it ensures data can be restored if a breach occurs.

In the thrilling world of zero-day exploits, being proactive is the name of the game. Remember, the race might be on, but by staying vigilant and taking preventive measures, you can ensure your digital treasure stays well-guarded.

Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS)

Picture this: you’re in a store, quietly browsing through shelves stocked with your favorite items. Suddenly, a crowd floods in, filling every inch of space, making it impossible for you to move or shop. This scenario captures the essence of a Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attack. In this digital version, your website or online service is the store, and the flood of visitors is a horde of traffic designed to cause disruption.

The Digital Crowd

In a DDoS attack, hackers use multiple computers and internet connections to flood a targeted system with traffic. It’s like having a swarm of people enter a store, not to shop, but just to crowd the space. This can overwhelm the targeted system, causing it to slow down or even crash completely, much like a store struggling to operate amidst a sea of non-customers.

The Disruption

The goal of a DDoS attack is not to steal data but to disrupt. The motivation can vary – it might be to distract from another attack, to cause financial loss, to protest, or even just to cause chaos. Imagine the store owner trying to manage the crowd while their cash register is being robbed, or the loss in sales if genuine customers can’t get in the door. This is the impact a DDoS attack can have on the digital realm.

The Botnet Factor

An interesting facet of DDoS attacks is the use of botnets. These are networks of infected computers, controlled without the owners’ knowledge. It’s as if each person in the crowd flooding the store is actually a puppet, controlled by the attacker. This allows the traffic to be distributed, making it harder to stop and tracing back to the attacker more challenging.

Shoring Up Defenses

Defending against DDoS attacks can feel like trying to hold back a tidal wave, but there are measures you can take. Having robust security systems in place is essential, including firewalls and intrusion prevention systems that can identify and block malicious traffic.

Furthermore, consider using DDoS protection services. These services can absorb and disperse the traffic of a DDoS attack before it reaches your network, like security guards managing a crowd.

Being prepared for a DDoS attack also involves having a response plan. Knowing what to do when an attack happens—whom to contact, how to communicate with users, how to restore services—can make a world of difference in limiting the damage and recovery time.

In the digital world, a crowd is not always a sign of success. Understanding and preparing for DDoS attacks can help keep your digital store open for business, ensuring that when the crowd comes knocking, you’re ready to keep the chaos at bay.


Stepping into the world of hacking types is like stepping into a complex game where the rules constantly change, and the stakes are high. But understanding this game—knowing what phishing attacks look like, how zero-day exploits work, and how DDoS attacks can disrupt—is half the battle. Remember, in this digital landscape, knowledge is your shield, awareness is your sword, and vigilance is your strategy. Stay informed, stay safe, and keep your digital kingdom well-guarded against these ever-evolving hacking tactics.

How to stay safe online:

  • Practice Strong Password Hygiene: Use a unique and complex password for each account. A password manager can help generate and store them. In addition, enable two-factor authentication (2FA) whenever available.
  • Invest in Your Safety: Buying the best antivirus for Windows 11 is key for your online security. A high-quality antivirus like Norton, McAfee, or Bitdefender will safeguard your PC from various online threats, including malware, ransomware, and spyware.
  • Be Wary of Phishing Attempts: Be cautious when receiving suspicious communications that ask for personal information. Legitimate businesses will never ask for sensitive details via email or text. Before clicking on any links, ensure the sender's authenticity.
  • Stay Informed. We cover a wide range of cybersecurity topics on our blog. And there are several credible sources offering threat reports and recommendations, such as NIST, CISA, FBI, ENISA, Symantec, Verizon, Cisco, Crowdstrike, and many more.

Happy surfing!

Frequently Asked Questions

Below are the most frequently asked questions.

What is the most common type of hacking?

Phishing is one of the most common types of hacking. Cybercriminals often use it because it’s relatively easy to carry out and it can be highly effective. It relies on tricking individuals into giving up sensitive information, often through an email or message that appears to come from a trustworthy source.

How can I protect myself against zero-day exploits?

Regularly updating your software is one of the best defenses against zero-day exploits. Software updates often include patches for known vulnerabilities. Employing reliable security software, maintaining a secure network, and regularly backing up your data are also crucial steps in protecting against potential exploits.

Can a DDoS attack cause a data breach?

While a DDoS attack itself does not typically result in a data breach as its primary goal is to overwhelm and disrupt service, it can be used as a distraction for other malicious activities that could lead to a data breach. This is why it’s crucial to have robust security measures in place to detect and deal with a wide range of potential attacks.

Author: Tibor Moes

Author: Tibor Moes

Founder & Chief Editor at SoftwareLab

Tibor is a Dutch engineer and entrepreneur. He has tested security software since 2014.

Over the years, he has tested most of the best antivirus software for Windows, Mac, Android, and iOS, as well as many VPN providers.

He uses Norton to protect his devices, CyberGhost for his privacy, and Dashlane for his passwords.

This website is hosted on a Digital Ocean server via Cloudways and is built with DIVI on WordPress.

You can find him on LinkedIn or contact him here.

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