Chapter 8
The Cybercriminal’s Toolkits
8.1 Understanding the context
As demonstrated in previous chapters, the concept of hacking covers a wide
range of activities associated with accessing computer resources belonging to
a third party without authorisation.
All offensive uses of ICT in order to harm, degrade, inhibit, disrupt, deny,
or destroy ICT resources are classied as cyberattacks. Cyberattacks are com-
puter-driven attacks committed through cyberspace against targeted systems.
The impact of a cyberattack depends on its target and on how it functions.
The impact can vary innitely as a result of the precise nature of the target and
the abilities and the motivations of the cybercriminals. Some attacks consist
of hijacking or deceiving systems or means of security, or even breaking them,
while others consist of the misuse of technologies. This is the case with, for
example, denial of service attacks.
There are many ways of manipulating the possibilities offered by the suite
of Internet protocols in order to exploit the weaknesses and vulnerabilities
of ICT environments, to deceive the users and owners of systems to which
the offender does not have legitimate access rights, and thereby to gain illicit
access. The ingenuity of attackers is virtually limitless and, in general, they
know how to change their approaches and exploit efciently both the resources
available and the vulnerabilities present. Attackers are increasing their knowl-
edge, and their approaches evolve dynamically and permanently in order to
206 Cyberpower
exploit any new opportunities offered by the changing environment. Although
it would be impossible to present an exhaustive list of the types and method-
ologies of attack, as these are numerous and undergo constant evolution, it is
possible to identify certain constant factors. Some of these general principles
are presented below.
Of course, this is not an attempt to present an exhaus-
tive list of all the tools that are available in the marketplace, but rather an
overview of the methods that cybercriminals employ and the weapons at their
8.2 Fundamental principles and constant factors
of cyberattacks
Active and Passive Attacks
The different types of attacks can essentially be classi ed in two main catego-
ries: passive or active attacks (Figure 8.1). The methods of attack that modify
data are described as active while those that rely on simple listening – the
interception of data without altering them – are described as passive.
Figure 8.1 Active and passive cyberattacks.
This chapter is not an instruction manual for performing cyberattacks, nor should it be read as
incitement or encouragement to perform such attacks.

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