Cyberattacks can have devastating consequences for your business. For example, a phishing attack can lead to an infected website that exposes business and personal information, or a cyberattack could halt all urgent surgeries at a hospital.
Threat actors use multiple attacks to gain unauthorized access to IT systems for theft, extortion, and disruption. Learn about the most common threats and how to prevent them.
Man-in-the-middle attacks (MITM) allow attackers to intercept and manipulate data communication between two parties. They can eavesdrop, steal information, and hijack a connection to gain access to an IT system or network. They can also use their privileged position to inject malware or compromise the integrity of communications. This type of attack takes many forms, including hacking into unsecured WiFi networks, intercepting traffic on a local network, and gaining access through vulnerabilities in web applications.
Cybercriminals use MITM attacks to steal users’ sensitive information, such as passwords, usernames, and credit card details. They can listen in on communications or impersonate one of the parties by spoofing an IP address or website to intercept messages. Once they have the information, they can gain unauthorized access to systems or even breach a company’s perimeter.
These attacks are commonly used as an initial step in long-term advanced persistent threat (APT) campaigns targeting companies and their internal IT infrastructure. They bypass firewalls and antivirus software protections and often exploit vulnerabilities in hardware devices such as USB drives. This makes it essential to understand the risks of using these devices and how to protect them against attack. It is critical to know how these attacks work, as they can bypass other security solutions such as NGFWs and IDS/IPS.
Password Cracking Attacks
Understanding various forms of cyberattacks is crucial for organizations aiming to bolster their digital defenses and safeguard against potential threats.
The most common cyberattack is password cracking. Attackers use many tactics to steal a user’s password.
To protect their data, responsible organizations never store a password in its original plaintext form. Instead, they use an algorithm to convert a password into a string of random letters and numbers. The algorithm is called hashing. Passwords stored in their original form are easy for hackers to decode using a brute-force attack.
This type of attack tries all possible combinations of characters until it guesses the right one. This method can take years if the password is long and complex. Attackers use software that tries billions of combinations per second and has the advantage of hardware such as multi-core processors and graphics processing units.
Password cracking methods include simple dictionary attacks, reverse brute force, and hybrid attacks. These are all based on the fact that most passwords are made up of words and can be guessed using a dictionary or word list. This is why choosing strong passwords and using a passphrase with additional special characters is essential.
A malicious actor can also access a system and then download the password hash values by exploiting malware or through a breach. Once attackers have this information, they can perform other attacks. For example, they can use the privileged credentials (username and password) to access other systems and perform lateral movement.
Distributed Denial of Service Attacks
Cybercriminals use DDoS attacks to overwhelm web resources and cause a disruption of service to legitimate users. These attacks can last hours or days and disrupt traffic flow to and from your website. This can affect your company’s ability to conduct business. Episodes can also target specific services within your organization. For example, a DDoS attack on your credit card payment gateway could interrupt transactions and make it difficult to serve customers.
DDoS attacks are classified according to the network connection layers of the Open Systems Interconnection (OSI) model that allows different computer systems to communicate with each other. Episodes can be divided into four categories: protocol, network-centric attacks, application vulnerability attacks, and resource-level attacks.
Protocol attacks use flaws in protocol design to exhaust the bandwidth of a targeted system. These attacks include SYN flood attacks, ICMP flood attacks, and DNS reflection attacks. Network-centric attacks overload the targeted system with packets using amplification attacks, SYN spoofing, and NTP and Memcached amplification attacks.
Resource-level attacks exploit software vulnerabilities in application-layer protocols to saturate a targeted system with requests. These attacks include HTTP GET floods, Slowloris attacks, and slow TLS renegotiation.
Cyberattacks are motivated by a variety of reasons. Criminals seek financial gain, either by stealing data and selling it on the dark web or by extorting victims with ransomware attacks and other tactics to hold their systems hostage. Episodes can also be used for corporate espionage, as hackers steal proprietary information to give them an edge over their competitors. Other cyberattacks are purely disruptive, with hackers using DDoS attacks and other techniques to cripple their targets’ computer systems.
The majority of cyberattacks involve hacking websites and web-based applications. Hackers exploit vulnerabilities that are present in the code that runs these applications. This allows them to steal or redirect data. They can also use these attacks to gain privileged access.
Learn how to protect against web-based attacks by gaining an in-depth understanding of how hackers operate. This book will teach you to survey and scan for vulnerabilities and explore attack techniques such as SQL Injection, XSS, RCE, and command injection. You’ll also analyze actual security incidents mapped to understand how attackers can target web applications.
Web browsers have become the primary tool users leverage to access a range of networked assets. Attackers exploit vulnerabilities in web application code to steal or reroute data and gain privileged access. This can include stealing passwords, credit card numbers, and other personal information and exposing them to the public.