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Mode of Attack

What Does Mode of Attack Mean?

A mode of attack is a method by which hackers seek to access a system. Hackers exploit system vulnerabilities in order to damage data or interrupt computer functions through code manipulation or by injecting new malicious code.


Modes of attack include:

  • Email attachments
  • Buffer overflow
  • Security software
  • Updating processes and associated software
  • SQL vulnerabilities
  • Network protection software

There are many other modes of attack, but these are the most potentially destructive.

A mode of attack may also be called a method of attack.

Techopedia Explains Mode of Attack

The following are historical examples of damaging viruses and their modes of attack:

  • Morris 1988: Exploited email client flaws in Unix Sendmail.
  • Melissa 1999: Forced the shutdown of email gateways by generating excess traffic.
  • VBS/Loveletter 2000: Exploited email address lists and sent large numbers of messages.
  • Code Red 2001: Exploited a buffer overflow and damaged connectivity.
  • Nimda 2001: Generated masses of email to transmit itself, lured users to an infected website and exploited issues with security software.
  • SQL Slammer 2003: Exploited buffer-overflow bug and distributed copies of itself worldwide, causing service denials and Internet slowdown.
  • MS Blaster 2003: Exploited MS, causing major denial-of-service attacks and forcing computer restarts for banks, city governments and thousands of home and corporate users.
  • MyDoom 2004: A virus spread via email attachment. The virus spread when the attachment was opened and exploited address book lists. It also exploited the Kazaa file-sharing service.
  • Sasser 2004: Exploited buffer-overflow and affected transportation. Delta canceled 40 trans-Atlantic flights and Australian trains were forced to halt operations.
  • Witty 2004: Exploited network vulnerabilities by attacking network-protection software. It overwrote hard disks, rendering them unusable.

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