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Stay Safe Online: Understanding Common Cyber Attacks 

In today's world, cybersecurity is more important than ever. Cyber-attacks pose a significant threat with the potential to compromise sensitive information, disrupt operations, and cause financial losses. Not only individuals or small organisations can fall for the attacks and we have seen this happen on a very large scale within our National Health Service (NHS). The NHS experienced a significant cyber-attack in 2017 that caused widespread disruption to healthcare services across the country. This attack involved a type of ransomware called WannaCry, which encrypted files on infected computers and demanded a ransom in exchange for their release. However, ransomware is only 1 type of cybercrime that we have to be aware of. By understanding the common types of cyber-attacks, we can better protect ourselves online and minimize the risks. Let us explore some of the most common cyber-attacks and provide practical tips on how to stay safe. 



Phishing attacks involve emails or websites that trick you into revealing personal information like passwords or credit card details. These attacks have evolved with the increasing use of Artificial Intelligence (AI) like chat GPT, allowing attackers to create even more convincing and deceptive content. By leveraging AI, cybercriminals can generate realistic-looking emails, websites, and messages that make them harder to identify.  

How can you prevent an attack?  

  • Always be cautious of unsolicited emails, especially those requesting sensitive information. Check the sender's address, look for spelling mistakes or unusual requests, and avoid clicking on suspicious links.  

  • When in doubt, use trusted sources to obtain contact information. This can include official websites, verified business directories, or official documents such as invoices or product packaging. 



Malware is short for malicious software. It is a broad term that refers to viruses, worms, and ransomware which are specifically designed to harm, exploit, or gain unauthorized access to computer systems, networks, or devices.  


How can you prevent an attack?  

  • Protect yourself by installing reputable antivirus software such as Avast or Antivirus One (for OSX).  

  • Avoid downloading files or clicking on links from unknown sources.  

  • Be cautious when using removable media like USB drives, as they can carry malware. Regularly back up your important files to minimise the impact of a potential malware attack. 


Safeguard Your Passwords 

Passwords are fundamental for online security, serving as a key line of defense in protecting your sensitive information. They act as a barrier between unauthorized individuals and your personal accounts, ensuring that only authorized users can access them.  

How can you prevent an attack?  

  • Create strong, unique passwords for each of your accounts, using a combination of uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers, and symbols. Remembering that information can be difficult so consider using a reputable password manager like LastPass or Bit Warden. These tools generate and store complex passwords for you, so you only need to remember one master password to access them. 

  • Change your passwords every three to six months, especially for your most critical accounts to maximise your security efforts. Do not re-use passwords, using passwords from other sites leaves you vulnerable if one of those sites suffers a breach 

  • Enable two-factor authentication whenever available to add an extra layer of security. This step alone will protect against attacks against your accounts. This adds an extra layer of security by requiring a second verification step, such as a fingerprint scan or a unique code sent to your phone


By familiarising yourself with common cyber-attacks and adopting best practices, you can significantly enhance your online security.  Stay vigilant, exercise caution when sharing personal information, and keep your devices protected. By doing so, you can enjoy the benefits of the digital world while keeping yourself safe from cyber threats. 

If you are interested in learning more about Cybersecurity and how to effectively mitigate risks in your organisation or personal life, Cosmic provides comprehensive training and services. We take pride in our expertise and offer specialised guidance in cyber security to promote a proactive approach in maintaining a secure online presence. 

Call us on 0330 088 3005 to find out how we may be able to help you.