Cyber Threat Classification & ESET

by Eleanor Donoghue, on January 3, 2019

What did the media report on before cybercrime? We ask the question because every day brings a fresh wave of news items on successful hacks and viruses. Reading these headlines, it’s easy to imagine that the computer industry is either unwilling or unable to defend itself. Nothing, of course, is further from the truth - although we know that the number of attacks that were successfully beaten will never be reported. So how should we make sense of all these headlines?

Our first piece of advice is to better understand how the industry classifies different types of threat. Just as ignorance of the law is no defence, so ignorance of the different types of threat you face leaves you less well equipped to deal with them.

Malware is a combination of two words – "malicious" and "software". This umbrella term describes any form of malicious code, regardless of the way it afflicts victims, how it behaves or what damage it causes. Included in this category are things like worms, Trojans, adware, spyware, riskware, hoaxes and scams.

Phishing is where the criminal impersonates an entity that the victim trusts (eg, their bank) and so persuades them to either hand over sensitive information or unwittingly allows them access to that information. The industry refers to these as ‘social engineering attacks’ as they use psychological manipulation to trick the victim into making a security mistake.

Identity Theft
Similar to phishing, identity theft is where the attacker uses fraud or deception to obtain personal or sensitive information from a victim and then misuses it to act in the victim’s name.

Ransomware is malware that can ‘lock’ a device or encrypt its contents so as to extort money from the owner. In return, operators of the malicious code promise – of course, without any guarantees – to restore access to the affected machine or data.

Spam is any form of unrequested communication sent in bulk (also called Unsolicited Bulk Email, or UBE). Its most frequent form is a commercial email sent to a large number of addresses also known as Unsolicited Commercial Email, or UCE, but “spamming” is also possible through other ways including instant messages, texts (SMS), social media or even voicemail.

A Virus is a computer programme that is activated by attaching copies of itself to executable objects. Viruses can reach your computer from other infected computers, through a data medium such as a CD or DVD or through a network (either local or Internet).
Remote Attacks
Remote attacks comprise special techniques which allow attackers to compromise remote systems. These are divided into several categories including Denial of Service (DOS), DNS Poisoning and Port Scanning.   


  1. So now you know what the different types of risks are out there. Well be warned because these are evolving all the time so tomorrow’s headlines may carry a story about a new one not currently listed here.
If so, how can Managed Service Providers best defend your clients against them? Your - and their  - best form of defence is to enroll into the ESET MSP Programme. That way your clients will have access to one of the most comprehensive suites of security solutions currently on the market.


Want to learn more about ESET's product stack? Register for a demonstration with one of our Technical Specialists.




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