Hackers are an ingenious bunch. Over the years, malicious actors have developed a wide range of methods for gaining access to heavily defended networks. This article takes a look at some of the most commonly used attack vectors today. Businesses should protect themselves against all of these potent break-in tactics.
A backdoor attack makes use of the ways in which authorized parties can gain quick administrative access to a network without having to go through the usual authentication blockades. This kind of attack is frequently used in order to make unauthorized changes to a network so that data can be freely siphoned out.
Man In The Middle
A man-in-the-middle attack takes advantage of the online, highly networked nature of modern computer systems. The aim of a man-in-the-middle attack is to intercept and decrypt data while it is in transit. This kind of attack has become especially popular in the cloud era. Airtight encryption protocols are extremely useful in defeating this kind of attack.
Phishing is one of the most tried and tested attack vectors that hackers use in order to compromise network security. Phishing attacks rely upon the curiosity of an authorized person. They usually take the form of ‘spear phishing emails. An email is sent that contains a link purporting to be from an authorized source. When a person clicks on that link, they are asked to enter their credentials. The real author of the email then uses these to break into a network. Perhaps the most famous example of a spear phishing attack occurred in 2016 when Russian hackers used this attack vector to gain access to sensitive files that were the property of the Democratic party in the run-up to the presidential election in the United States of America.
It isn’t just outsiders that hack into sensitive areas and bring companies to their knees. Insiders are far more likely to have access to sensitive areas of a network and may have a reason to gain control over data, contacts, or computing power. Disgruntled workers have been known to use their access privileges to wreak havoc. Companies can prevent this kind of insider attack by ensuring that employees are treated fairly and limiting the amount of network authorization each person has available to them. Ultimately, keeping workers happy is the only way to stop them from taking revenge.
Ultimately, human beings are the most vulnerable component of any computer network. Cyber attacks use some kind of social manipulation over 90 percent of the time, according to Web Tribunal. Social manipulation – also known as social engineering – can take many forms. Authorized parties can be tricked into sharing their information with other seemingly authorized parties, asked to divulge information in casual conversation, and manipulated in a whole host of other ways. The most effective means of reducing the vulnerability of a system to this kind of manipulation is through comprehensive and regular staff training.