Common Hacking Techniques and Best Prevention Strategies
Hacking is a common thing today. Almost everyone talks of hackers and hacking, though most people don’t have an idea of the different kinds of hacking techniques that are there. Today, let’s discuss the different kinds of sophisticated hacking techniques that hackers employ and also take a look at some of the general solutions that could help prevent hacking effectively. Here we go…
Common Hacking Techniques
Phishing- This is one of the most common forms of hacking. Hackers lead users into clicking on something that’s more of a ‘bait’- a link or an attachment that would finally get them infected with malware. The most common form of phishing is carried out through email. Emails that would seem to be coming from a reputable source- a client, bank, insurance company, a colleague etc- and asking for personal information or requesting the recipient to click on a link or download an attachment could most likely be phishing emails. On click or one download would make it all go wrong for the recipient, who’d end up being infected with malware. Or else, if the recipient replies by providing personal information (like credit card data, phone number etc), that could be used for online fraud. In fact, majority of malware attacks begin with a phishing scam these days.
Trojans- Trojans are a kind of malware that, once installed on a system, would provide cybercriminals access to other malware programs. The name ‘Trojan’ is taken from Greek mythology, in which the Trojan horse is a wooden horse inside which soldiers hide and invade the city of Troy. Trojan malware could come seeking a user as any common file type, for example, a PDF. Once the file is downloaded, it could let loose malware into the user’s system or device.
Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS)- DDoS attacks are also becoming quite common these days. Hackers use a network of computers, all of which they have already hijacked using some malware, to send too many requests to an IP address that finally the network gets so overwhelmed with requests that the internet connection itself is cut off.
Wi-Fi spoofing- Wi-Fi spoofing or Fake WAP (Wireless Access Point) attacks are executed by hackers creating a fake Wi-Fi connection point and tricking users to log on to them before entering their personal details, like login credentials or card data. Once they log on to these fake Wi-Fi connections and then enter their personal details, the same would be stolen and later sold or misused.
Keylogging- Keylogging is the kind of attack in which hackers use a particular kind of malware, known as the keylogger malware, to record everything that a user types on his keyboard. The data that’s thus stolen is then sent from the system to the hacker’s server. Hackers can use keyloggers to steal login credentials, banking data, card data etc.
Man in the Middle (MITM) attacks- A Man in the Middle (MITM) attack, as the name itself suggests, involves a hacker intercepting and editing data that’s sent over the internet. The hacker would be catching data between the user and the server or website he is connecting to. Thus, a hacker could edit an email and change the payment details in it so that the payment, when made, goes to the hacker’s account rather than the sender’s.
Brute force attacks- Brute force attacks mostly involve hackers trying to log on to an account or a network by trying out different passwords. If the email id or login name is known, brute force attacks can be worked out. It’s usually done in an automated manner, attempting to log in trying thousands of password combinations in one minute.
Cookie theft- This involves hackers stealing data that are stored in cookies (which many websites use to store user-related data) and then selling the same or misusing it.
Five best hacking prevention techniques
We’ll discuss the five best general hacking prevention techniques that could help you prevent different kinds of hacking:
Use antivirus/antimalware software- Such tools help you detect and stop malware from infecting your system or device. These software could also help remove infections, if any. Use advanced software and secure your data.
Ensure proper encryption- Encryption is key to security. It also helps protect you from certain specific kinds of attacks, including MITM attacks, cookie theft etc.
Use VPN- VPNs or Virtual Private Networks help secure online activities by routing them through secure servers that hide identities and secure connections as well by encrypting all data sent between the user and the VPN servers. Using VPN services is best for preventing hacking attacks like DDoS, MITM attacks, Wi-Fi spoofing etc.
Ensure proper password management- Effective password management helps prevent hacking attacks to a great extent. Use secure, strong passwords (which comprise combinations of alphabets, both lower case and upper case ones, numbers and special characters), change passwords regularly and have different passwords for different accounts. This helps prevent hacking in a very effective manner.
Educate yourself, educate others- This is the most important amongst hacking prevention techniques. Educate yourself and others as well on the different kinds of risks and prevention strategies. If you run an organization, educate all employees on the different aspects of internet security, tell them about the different hacking methods and train them on how to stay secure. Remember, phishing attacks can best be prevented by training yourself and others not to open suspicious emails.