One-click and poof! An employee can download a malicious program from an innocent-looking email link and destroy your business immediately!
In an age when high-value target data like user credentials, email accounts, and credit card numbers are stored on private devices and transmitted freely over the internet, hackers continue to find new ways to gain access to these prizes.
A hacker will modify a system or network to gain unauthorized access to information, or exploit its vulnerabilities. The types of systems and networks that hackers prey on vary greatly.
This article will explain some of the most popular hacking techniques.
Cybercriminals have at their disposal malicious software of all kinds as one of their greatest tools. All forms of malware such as viruses, Trojan horses (supposed to be harmless, but lead to malicious behavior later on), worms (which circulate slowly), and ransomware are capable of adding up to a big payout – if you allow it into your network.
Many ways exist (such as those described below) for inducing unsuspecting users into doing just that.
Be cautious when opening email attachments and messages to prevent becoming infected. Make your browser prevent you from clicking on pop-up windows. Software should only be downloaded from reputable manufacturers and trusted app stores. Make sure security software and antivirus updates are kept current.
- Bait and Switch
An often-used carnival and street hustler gag is to offer the victim something they want and then swap it out for something else as soon as they are not looking. Digitally speaking, there are several ways to do this trick.
Cyber-criminals primarily use this scam on sites where advertising space is sold to third parties. A typical method for obtaining pop-ups or sidebars from a site is to register with a genuine email address, then link to a site that appears legitimate to the site administrator. The ads are likely to link to bogus sites that typically contain malware as soon as they go live.
One way for malware to infiltrate your website or device is to offer users the option of downloading an irresistible widget or app – which will infect your website or device with malicious code once it’s installed.
Choosing reputable websites to purchase desktop or web gadgets or software will give you the best results. In addition to due diligence, you must use caution when selling advertising space.
- Cookie Theft
You can store lots of information about yourself in cookies – such as personal data, financial information, and your log-in credentials – which are little text files stored in your browser or on your system.
There are varying degrees of encryption and plain text storage for cookies (based on the website). As a result, hackers have a bigger and easier job-stealing cookie, which has been prevalent for decades.
You can decrypt or read the cookie information to uncover your personal information, or you can use the information to impersonate you online. The theft of cookies can also be accomplished through false WAP attacks or sessions hijacked by hackers.
Your best bet is to avoid public networks or networks that aren’t protected. Using a VPN on your phone or mobile device is also an excellent idea for encrypting and tunneling your connection. You can reduce the possibility of cookies being stolen by routinely clearing your browser’s and system’s cache.
- Denial of Service/Distributed Denial of Service (DoS/DDoS)
Overloading systems with user requests, data requests, repetitive operations, etc., is one classic way to bring down systems and networks.
A wide variety of attacks exist, ranging from the relatively simple to the sophisticated. A recent example is the buffer overflow attack, where hackers gain access to personal information by overfilling form fields with too much data, making the forms freeze.
When downloading files or opening email attachments, exercise caution when they are infected with malware since malware is a common vector for DoS and DDoS attacks. The next step is installing an antivirus program that is up to scratch.
Using unified threat management (UTM) technology in a cloud-hosted security service can guard your website against overflow attacks if your website hosts an online forum.
With keylogging, an attacker can create a log file of your keyboard strokes or if it’s more sophisticated, your mouse clicks and movements. The method is one of the simplest and oldest hacking techniques. Passwords and user names may be stored in these log files.
This type of attack can be prevented by using a virtual keyboard, which scrambles or encrypts the text as you click each button. These keyboards are commonly used by banks and online retailers. As well as being app-based and highly recommended for personal use, these products are also available in the app store.
Cyber-criminals use this passive approach to observe and record information on network connections as much as they can. A hacker may intercept data packets or sniff packets, or use other monitoring techniques to carry out this kind of attack – but the success of such an attack is contingent upon not being detected and observed by the victim.
Eavesdroppers again find it easy to take advantage of insecure networks. Whenever possible, users should use VPNs when connecting to public Wi-Fi. Intrusion Detection Systems (IDS) and/or Intrusion Prevention Systems (IPS) are often implemented to prevent hackers from intercepting communications on an organization’s network.
- WAP Attacks and Watering Hole
Hackers often create bogus wireless access points or WAPs (such as spoofed Wi-Fi hotspots) to gain access to the data streams of captive audiences.
An attacker can easily assemble a potential herd of unwitting victims with a bogus but attractive website (like a spoofed social media platform) through a watering hole attack – or even spread malware to as many recipients as possible.
The safest way to access the Internet when using wireless connections is via a Virtual Private Network (VPN). Watering hole attacks can be prevented with caution and up-to-date security software.
The basis of a phishing attack is using specially crafted e-mail messages to entice your recipient to divulge sensitive information. Hackers have improved on the technique by adding an element of urgency by using social engineering.
This is a software download or a deal not to be missed. Your power company sending you a summons for non-payment of your bill. Detection of recent internet browsing activity by the police. You can be lured to one or more of these spoofed sites, or have malware installed by a “drive-by download” if an online form collects your credentials.
Furthermore, common sense must also be used on top of caution and diligence. You should contact the office or the person who sent the message if you want to confirm the authenticity of the message.
Corporate users should be trained in security awareness. Security intelligence should also be posted so that workers are informed about the latest threats and scams.
- MITM or ‘Man in the Middle’ Attack
The insecure network connection makes users vulnerable to this particular tactic, which intercepts data between senders and recipients (of an ongoing transaction). As well as establishing a connection with the server or sender, a connection is established between the attacker and the client/recipient. Once the attacker has access to the proxy connection, he or she can read or modify the data that is transferred.
Monitoring and recording confidential transmissions such as password exchanges or intellectual property transfers may be the objective. An attacker could contaminate or compromise the data stream by injecting corrupted code into it. These attacks are likely to be undetected for some time.
Using a VPN ensures your connection and point-to-point security, as well as the encryption strength required by MITM attacks.
Simple solutions are difficult to put into practice, however. Consider securing your internal apps with corporate firewalls or VPNs to reduce the risk of them being compromised. Hackers will be less exposed and have fewer attack surfaces to exploit.
Author Bio- Neha Singh is the Founder & CEO of Securium Solutions with a demonstrated history of working in the information technology and services industry. She is skilled in ECSA, Vulnerability Management, Security Information and Event Management (SIEM), Management, and Business Development. She loves traveling and trekking.