cy·​ber·​at·​tack ˈsī-bər-ə-ˌtak How to pronounce cyberattack (audio)
plural cyberattacks
: an attempt to gain illegal access to a computer or computer system for the purpose of causing damage or harm
An undermine-first strategy allows the United States government to intrude into adversaries' systems, exploiting this covert access to gather intelligence and occasionally to deliver a destructive cyberattack.Joshua A. Kroll
If your data is valuable enough, there is almost nothing you can do to provide total security against an expert adversary. Simply put, the attacker may be smarter than anyone you have defending the network. Cyberattacks are not only impossible to block, they're often difficult to detect; you may not even know you're under attack in the first place.Robert W. Lucky
cyberattacker noun
plural cyberattackers
Cyberattackers constantly evolve their skills and will always find new ways to attack—it's not a question of "if," but of "when." Eileen Dignen

Examples of cyberattack in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web As the head of American counterintelligence, Mike Casey sees on a daily basis the scope of foreign spying operations, cyberattacks and economic espionage against the United States. Ryan Lucas, NPR, 12 Apr. 2024 In late February, Change Healthcare, the largest health care payment system in the country, was targeted in a ransomware attack, a cyberattack that utilizes software to prevent users from accessing electronic systems by demanding a ransom to restore access. Brenna Gauchat, The Arizona Republic, 10 Apr. 2024 It’s been a week since the world avoided a potentially catastrophic cyberattack. Dell Cameron Andrew Couts, WIRED, 6 Apr. 2024 Ukraine’s military is dangerously short on personnel and munitions, while Russian disinformation campaigns and cyberattacks are multiplying. Célia Belin, Foreign Affairs, 5 Apr. 2024 Omni Hotels & Resorts, which has a location in downtown Louisville, had to bring its systems offline Friday following a cyberattack on the hotel's systems, according to a release from the company. The Courier-Journal, 4 Apr. 2024 Kansas lawmakers are tightening digital security measures after the state’s judicial branch fell victim to a foreign cyberattack last year that left the state’s online court system incapacitated for several months, and studies showed lingering gaps in the state’s cyber security. Jenna Barackman, Kansas City Star, 25 Mar. 2024 Taiwan experiences regular cyberattacks and near-daily incursions into its waters and airspace by the People’s Liberation Army, which has been built up in recent years. John Liu, New York Times, 14 Mar. 2024 The panel, in its latest report, accused Pyongyang of engaging in cyberattacks that valued approximately $3 billion to generate funds for its weapons programs. Min Joo Kim, Washington Post, 29 Mar. 2024

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'cyberattack.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

1996, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of cyberattack was in 1996

Dictionary Entries Near cyberattack

Cite this Entry

“Cyberattack.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 16 Apr. 2024.

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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