When trying to undertand the anatomy of attacks on websites you have to break it down into manageable parts. In my mind it really comes down to two types: Targeted and Opportunistic.
More important to understand is how the attack is executed, and that’s what I want to spend some time on in this post.
What do today’s attacks look like?
For most, targeted attacks will be rare, but they do happen every day. You might recall mentions on the news about the CIA website being defaced, or LinkedIn and eHarmony being compromised, in both those instances, I’d categorize those as targeted attacks. There are also examples like the most recent article that talked to the Gizmodo employee who appeared to have lost his entire digital identify, simply because the attacker liked his Twitter handle.
On the flip side, you have opportunistic attacks that are likely what most reading this get affected by. I provide a better discussion on it on our post, Understanding Opportunistic Attacks. The good news though is that in both instances you find many similarities in the attacks, specifically the use of tools that allow for automation.