A cybersecurity attack is any form of malicious activity that targets IT systems, or the people using them, to gain unauthorized access to the systems and the data or information they contain. In most cases, the cyber-attackers are criminals looking to exploit the attack for financial gain. In other cases, the aim is to disrupt operations by disabling access to IT systems, or in some cases directly damaging physical equipment. The latter type of attack is commonly state-backed and carried out by state actors, or cybercriminals in their employ.
Cybersecurity attacks can be targeted at specific organizations or individuals, or they can be broadcast in nature and impact on multiple organizations regionally and globally. Often targeted attacks jump from their intended victims to become more general problems for all organizations.