As the individuals and organizations are working towards improving their online security, cyber-criminals are also getting smarter. Hackers are becoming even more sophisticated in their techniques to breach online security.
They use a variety of techniques that range from social engineering to exploiting vulnerabilities in software and hardware. Here, we’ll try to understand some of the common techniques that hackers employ:
1. Social engineering
This involves manipulating people into divulging sensitive information. Hackers often use social engineering to gain access to online accounts and systems. They may use phishing scams, such as sending fake emails or messages that appear to be from a legitimate source. The user is taken to a fake website through a link and prompted to enter the login credentials. This information is then captured by the hacker.
There’s yet another social engineering technique called ‘pretexting’. In this technique, the hacker poses as a legitimate authority figure, such as an IT technician or a government agent. By using this identity, the hacker then extracts sensitive information from the victim.
2. Password attacks
They’ve become quite common in recent times. Hackers use password attacks to gain access to online accounts. Password attacks can take many forms, including brute force attacks, dictionary attacks, and phishing attacks. In brute force attacks, all possible combinations of characters are tested. This is done until the correct password is found.
Dictionary attacks involve using a list of commonly used passwords and trying them until the correct password is found. In phishing attacks, users are tricked into disclosing their passwords. This is done through the social engineering techniques.
Malware is a type of software that is designed to harm a computer system or steal information. Hackers use malware to gain access to online accounts and systems. There are many different types of malware, including viruses, trojans, and ransomware. Viruses are programs that replicate themselves and infect other programs on a computer.
Trojans are programs that appear to be harmless but contain malicious codes that can be used to steal information. Ransomware encrypts the files of a victim and demands payment in exchange for the decryption key. In a way, it is a form of malware. Hackers use different methods to distribute malware, including email attachments, infected websites, and drive-by downloads.
4. Man-in-the-Middle attacks
In such type of attacks, the hackers intercept communication between two parties. They can then eavesdrop on the conversations, modify the messages being sent, or even impersonate one of the parties. Man-in-the-middle attacks can be carried out through various methods. They include the use of fake Wi-Fi hotspots, rogue DNS servers, and phishing scams.
5. SQL Injection
Hackers can also exploit vulnerabilities in websites that use SQL databases. SQL injection involves inserting malicious code into a website’s input fields, which can then be executed by the database. This allows hackers to extract sensitive information from the database or even take control of the entire website.
Measures to enhance online security
It is essential to stay vigilant and use strong passwords, keep software up-to-date, and be wary of suspicious emails and websites. By taking these precautions, you can help protect yourself from the threat of cyber-attacks.
It is also essential to invest in robust cyber-security measures such as firewalls, antivirus software, and intrusion detection systems. The right combination of preventative measures and security tools can help safeguard your online accounts and systems from online threats.