The Four Most Common Types of Encrypted Attacks and How to Protect Yourself Against Them

Due to an ever-increasing number of cybercrimes, most individuals and businesses prefer to share their data over an encrypted network. This ensures that documents, files, and anything else they are transferring is viewed by the receiver only.

Today, when we’re surrounded by rising cybersecurity breaches, malware attacks, ransomware, various forms of malicious code, and other threats, an encrypted system gives us peace of mind. Encryption protects the safety, confidentiality, and authenticity of whatever data we share.

However, with the evolution of technology, the tactics of cybercriminals have evolved too. Have you ever imagined what would happen if cybercriminals could bypass the secured encrypted network to steal or compromise your data? The outcomes would be catastrophic for you, right? Well, in a nutshell, that’s what encrypted attacks are about.

Present-day cybercriminals are equipped with advanced tools and better techniques than they have ever been before! As a result, cyber attackers can now misuse the encrypted system and steal the data you believe to be confidential.

This article will walk you through the four most common types of encrypted attacks. We will also give you some solid tactics to help you dodge these attacks successfully. Read on to learn more.


What are Encrypted Attacks?

Before jumping into everything there is to know about encrypted attacks, let’s first understand what encryption is. In simple terms, encryption is a technique for encoding sensitive information. It is a security method that is used to conceal data in such a way that it becomes unreadable.

Encryption uses an algorithm and unique key to transform the original information (plaintext) into an encoded form (ciphertext). This prevents any unauthorized person or a potential cyber attacker from accessing your data. Only the intended users can decide the ciphertext and access the original information.

Now, there is a twist involved when it comes to encrypted attacks! Cybercriminals use the very same encryption that was meant to deter them from stealing your data, to launch a cyberattack while being undetected.

Attackers alter the encrypted texts to embed malware into them or steal the private key used for encoding and decoding the information. What these hackers do is find a weakness in the encrypted system. They look for something amiss in code, ciphertext, or the private key and use that weakness to strong-arm your network’s security.


How do Encrypted Attacks Threaten Businesses and Their Data?

The biggest issue with encrypted attacks is that the attackers usually hide in plain sight. Thus, encryption attacks take place when you least expect them.

Encryption is meant to provide you with a tough layer of security. Thus, you keep on sharing and receiving critical data over your network without even imagining that something could go wrong. We don’t suspect anything. This is the reason why encrypted attacks are escalating at such an incredible speed.

Encrypting your network or data will never be a 100% secure way of protecting yourself. Security protocols and algorithms keep on evolving every day, and so do the attacker’s techniques.

There are various ways in which cybercriminals perform encrypted attacks. For example, they can create a duplicate SSL certificate, launch malware inside an encrypted tunnel, and insert malicious software or code into an SQL-using server, thereby forcing it to reveal private information. 

Ransomware is also a form of encrypted attack where the victims are forced to pay a massive ransom in exchange for their data. The number of ransomware delivered over an encrypted network increased by 500% in 2020.

All of this can result in businesses losing their transaction data, credentials, and other private information. In addition, such attacks can also pose a huge financial threat to businesses.

According to reports, SSL-based cyber attacks saw a massive increase of 260% in the first nine months of 2020. Similarly, threats over HTTP are witnessing a spike of over 314% year by year.

computer code accessed with encrypted attacks

Four Common Types of Encrypted Attacks

As there are several different types of encryption available, many types of encrypted attacks are also present. Let’s have a look at the four most common ones.

Man-in-the-middle Attack

This is one of the most common types of encrypted attacks. This type of attack occurs when hackers place themselves in the middle of the two communicating parties. This enables them to intercept all the information shared between the two authorized users, including the method in which the encrypted session was set up.

Once the hacker breaks into the traffic, they can access and filter all the sensitive information of your organization. The man-in-the-middle attack is also called an eavesdropping attack.

Cipher-only attack

In this type of attack, the hacker captures the ciphertexts of several encrypted messages with the same algorithm by sniffing. Now, all the hacker needs to do is find out the corresponding encryption key that can decrypt all the ciphertexts. As soon as the attacker can decipher the key, they access all the critical data easily.

Reply Attacks

In reply attacks, the cyber attacker captures and intercepts some crucial information or encrypted data (for example, a password or authentication information). Then, they send this information back to the receiver. This dupes the receiver and assumes the hacker to be the authorized sender. Thus, the receiver ends up providing unauthorized access to the attacker.

Known-plaintext Attacks

In this attack, the attacker already has some plaintext and ciphertext with them. All they have to do is map them out to find out the encryption key and decipher the message. This is one of the simplest encrypted attacks as the cyber attacker already possesses a lot of crucial information.


How to Protect Yourself Against Encrypted Cyber Attacks?

Now that you know about the four most common encrypted attacks, let’s look at some tips and tricks to protect yourself against them.

Always use the latest version of Windows

An updated version of Windows provides you with the highest level of protection against various cyber threats and vulnerabilities. So, make sure to install and use the latest version of the Windows OS.

This ensures that you have the latest security patches on your system, which go a long way in preventing encryption attacks like implementation attacks.

Use Multi-factor authentication

Whenever you encrypt your disk drive, make sure to practice multi-factor authentication. Along with providing an encryption key, try to set up a PIN for access to the encrypted disk drive. This offers an additional layer of security, thereby making it difficult for cybercriminals to gain unauthorized access to your computer or files.

Do not use an encryption key for more than one purpose

Another way to prevent encrypted cyber attacks is to never use the same encryption key for more than one purpose. Whether you are using the key for encrypting a file or device, for a digital signature, or for authentication, it is never a good idea to reuse the same key for several purposes.

Doing so creates a huge hole in your online security strategy and can cause severe damage. If an attacker can decipher the key, you will end up losing more than one database or system. Thus, it is an excellent habit to always have unique encryption keys for all your files and systems.



Unfortunately, encrypted attacks are becoming a common phenomenon. They create a blind spot in a business’s security strategies. Cybercriminals are constantly upping their game and refining their techniques. Thus, detecting an encrypted attack has become quite difficult.

Make sure to use all the measures mentioned above to strengthen your business’s online security. As a business owner, you need to be extra vigilant and follow a zero-trust online security policy to prevent encrypted attacks. Because when it comes to the digital world, you can never know where the hackers are hiding!


Tech Masters helps business owners create the best, most lock-tight security framework possible, to protect their most important data and digital assets. We individually tailor our solutions to the unique needs of each one of our clients. Contact us today to learn more or to set up your free business IT assessment. 


To learn more about encrypted attacks and what you can do to protect yourself, check out our frequently asked questions and answers below. 




What are the most common types of security attacks?

The most common types of security attacks include the following:


Malware attacks


SQL injection attack

Computer viruses

Ransomware attack

Man-in-the-Middle attacks



How can we prevent cyber-attacks?

With our ever-increasing dependence on technology and the internet, the number and the severity of cyber-attacks is spiking too. And while we can’t put an end to them completely, we can prevent them to a great extent.


Here are the top five ways to steer clear of cyber attacks:


Make sure to use unique and strong passwords for your devices and online accounts.

Keep your software and devices up-to-date at all times. Make sure to install the latest security patches.

Always check a sender’s email address before opening it. Avoid clicking on suspicious links and emails.

Install high-quality anti-virus software and firewall protection.

As much as possible, avoid using or connecting to public Wi-Fi.


What are network attacks?

A network attack is an illicit attempt to get unauthorized access to a company’s or an individual’s network. Cybercriminals use various tools and tactics to launch a cyber attack on a company’s network, steal critical data, compromise information, or perform other malicious actions within your operating systems, applications, work mobile devices, storage and network. Don’t lose control of your system, take every precaution to protect your business and your future. 


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