Active Attack: How Quickly Can It Spread?

Active Attack: How Quickly Can It Spread?

 By Charles Joseph | Cybersecurity Advocate
 Last update: November 25, 2023

An active attack is when an unauthorized person or system manipulates or alters data to disrupt network operations or cause damage to a system. This could involve altering system information, sending false information, or simply attempting to gain unlawful access to a system.

Examples of an Active Attack

1. Altering Data on a Website

This type of active attack is particularly common in e-commerce scenarios. Here, a hacker bypasses the security measures to gain unauthorized access to the network. Once inside, they can alter crucial data.

An example of this could be when a hacker changes the pricing of products. If they reduce the prices drastically, the company could suffer from significant financial losses. On the other hand, if they increase the prices, it could lead to loss of trust among customers.

This type of attack not only disrupts operations but also can seriously damage a company’s reputation, making it a serious cybersecurity concern.

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2. Phishing Email Attack

Another common active attack is a phishing email attack. In this scenario, an attacker disguises itself as a trusted entity and sends an email with a malicious link to the recipient. The email typically contains a compelling message to trick the user into clicking on the link.

Once the user clicks on the link, they may be directed to a fake website where they’re asked to input personal information or login credentials. The attacker can then capture this information for malicious purposes such as identity theft or unauthorized access to secure systems.

This type of attack poses a significant threat as it can lead to severe breaches of privacy and security. It also highlights the importance of exercising caution and vigilance when handling emails, especially from unknown sources.


In summary, an active attack in the realm of cybersecurity involves unauthorized activities that aim to manipulate or disrupt a system’s normal functioning. Whether it’s altering data on a website or conducting a phishing email attack, these threats highlight the ever-growing importance of robust cybersecurity measures.

Key Takeaways

  • An active attack in cybersecurity is an unauthorized activity intended to manipulate or disrupt a system’s functioning.
  • This can involve various actions, such as altering data on a website or sending phishing emails.
  • Active attacks can lead to serious breaches of privacy and security.
  • They can cause significant damage to a company’s operations and reputation.
  • The risks posed by these attacks underscore the importance of strong, proactive cybersecurity measures.

Related Questions

1. What’s the difference between active and passive cyber attacks?

Active attacks, like altering data or sending phishing emails, aim to disrupt a system’s operations or cause damage. Passive attacks, on the other hand, typically involve eavesdropping or monitoring of data transfers without alteration of data or systems.

2. How can organizations protect themselves against active attacks?

Organizations can protect against active attacks through various measures such as implementing robust firewalls, regularly updating and patching systems, using secure networks for data transmission, educating employees about potential threats, and regularly backing up data.

3. Is a Denial of Service (DoS) attack considered an active attack?

Yes, a Denial of Service (DoS) attack is considered an active attack as it involves disrupting the normal functioning of a service or network by overwhelming it with traffic.

4. Who are likely targets of active attacks?

Any organization or individual with valuable data or resources can be a target of active attacks. This includes businesses, government agencies, and even personal accounts.

5. What are some signs of an active attack?

Some signs of an active attack may include a sudden surge in network traffic, unexpected system reboots, new user accounts, unauthorized changes to data, or anomalies in system performance.

"Amateurs hack systems, professionals hack people."
-- Bruce Schneier, a renown computer security professional