When trying to understand 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.
It is important to understand is how the attack is executed. 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, even though they happen every day. You might recall mentions on the news about the CIA website being defaced, or LinkedIn and eHarmony being compromised. These are 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 identity, simply because the attacker liked his Twitter handle.
On the flip side, you have opportunistic attacks that are the most common. I provide a better discussion on it in 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.