What is Cyber Vandalism and How Can You Avoid Becoming a Victim?

Most people are familiar with cyber attacks. Hackers infiltrate computer systems hoping to steal data for financial or political gain. However, fewer are aware of cyber vandalism, electronic vandalism, or data vandalism.

In a typical cyber attack, the criminal’s aim is to steal and misuse your data. With cyber vandalism, their goal is to deface or destroy your data. The hacker gets no monetary gain from the act and has different goals in mind.

This article provides a brief introduction to cyber vandalism. We’ll expand on cyber vandalism’s definition, describe the most common variants, and provide some tips on how to protect yourself.


What is Cybervandalism?

Cyber vandalism is essentially the same thing as property vandalism but for someone’s virtual property instead of physical property. You may also hear the terms “electronic vandalism” or “data vandalism.” Electronic and data vandalism’s definitions refer to the same act.


What is the Point of Cyber Vandalism?

Cyber vandals don’t get any monetary gain from their crimes. The act may be politically motivated, but usually it’s a form of mischief or done out of anger at the data’s owner or business. Disgruntled or dismissed employees, strained personal relations, activists, and strangers who just think it’s funny, are all potential perpetrators.

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Different Types of Cyber Vandalism


DDoS Attacks

DDoS stands for “denial-of-service.” As the name indicates, a DDoS attack occurs when a perpetrator intentionally causes network downtime leading to business disruptions. Historically, many of these attacks originated in China and were used for ransomware.

However, in 2022, the top origin country switched from China to the US and its use in ransomware decreased by 52%. That means DDoS attacks are now more likely to be a form of cyber vandalism and more likely to affect Americans. So, it’s more important than ever for you to be aware of them.

Computer Vandalism

Source: Cloudflare


Social Media Vandalism

Social media is a popular tool for hackers. Many use it to collect information that they can use to impersonate a trusted user. On the other hand, some hackers infiltrate social media accounts to destroy or deface the profile instead of to collect data. They may post offensive or inflammatory content as your brand to intentionally hurt your image.


Website Defacement

Website defacement occurs when a perpetrator vandalizes a website. It can be as simple as humorous misinformation on a Wikipedia page or profanity in a comments section or as complex as hacking a website to change its entire layout.

Typically, the intention behind this attack is to harm the website owner’s reputation or redirect views. However, some perpetrators simply do it for amusement.



Malware is malicious code that corrupts or deletes computer data. It is the code behind computer viruses and malicious spyware. Cyber vandals may employ malware that automatically enacts their goals.


Physical Computer Vandalism

Sometimes, cyber vandalism is as simple as the physical destruction of an important computer or server. The perpetrator may do this to intentionally destroy data on that computer or data destruction may be a by-product of the vandalism.

Cyber Vandalism


How to Protect Your Business from Cyber Vandals


Provide Cyber Awareness Training

Your people are your most vulnerable information assets – and also your most important line of defense. Sanford University researchers suggest that 88% of cyber breaches were caused by human error (commonly involving phishing or social engineering schemes) that could have been prevented. Cyber vandalism is no exception. That’s why it’s important to provide comprehensive and ongoing cyber training to every worker.


Use Strong Passwords or Pass-phrases

Password cracking is a method that hackers use to figure out people’s passwords. It can be done manually or with the use of a password cracking algorithm. The stronger your password is the harder it is for them to guess (at least 12 – 16 characters is recommended). It’s also a best practice to use different passwords for every account – and a top-tier password manager to help you keep everything under control.


Keep Your IT Infrastructure Up-to-Date

Outdated IT systems are more vulnerable to attacks. Software updates often include patches that keep your system aligned with the current threat landscape. Neglecting updates can leave these vulnerabilities unpatched which makes it much easier to exploit your system.


Perform Regular Data Backups

The goal of cyber vandalism is to destroy or deface your data. Regular data backups give vandals less power. If an attack does occur, you have preserved data that can quickly replace the defaced information.


Review Your Social Media Platforms’ Guidelines

Social media platforms all have different idiosyncrasies. The cybersecurity tactics that you use for one may not work for another. Thoroughly review the security guidelines for every platform you use. This may also reveal that some platforms are more relaxed on their security than you’re comfortable with.


Establish a Thorough Disaster Recovery Plan

The importance of a network security plan cannot be overstated. These plans help mitigate risks and prevent attacks. At the same time, it’s also important for you to not be caught off guard if an attack does occur. A comprehensive disaster recovery and business continuity plan will lessen a vandal’s damage and get you back up and running more quickly, if they happen to enact a successful attack.

A Trustworthy Cybersecurity Partner Can Strengthen Your Defenses Against Cyber Vandalism

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Get Extra Protection From Cyber Vandalism With A Proven Partner

The tips highlighted here can help you improve your defense against cyber vandals. However, you can make your defenses even stronger with a trusted managed IT services partner that prioritizes cybersecurity, and has the experience and expertise you need to get the job done.

At ITSco, we take a proactive approach to cyber security. We can provide a full range of advanced security services including penetration testing, vulnerability scanning, security training and 24/7 monitoring for suspicious activity on your network (to help discover and stop potential vandals in real time).

Learn more about ITSco’s reliable cybersecurity services and book a consultation with our trusted and trustworthy  professionals.

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