According to Hollywood, hackers are invariably hooded characters who spend hours on end frenziedly typing and staring at unintelligible lines of code fleeting across a screen. Suddenly, they’ll gain access to the system they’re targeting, steal those nuclear launch codes they were looking for, and bring the whole world to its knees.
The reality is somewhat different, but no less scary. Cybercriminals are using an ever-wider variety of methods to hack into enterprise systems across businesses of all sizes and industries. Now, cyberattacks are more common than ever thanks to the ubiquity of mobile devices, which are dangerously easy to exploit.
So, how do hackers really break into a company’s computer systems? Here are a few popular methods:
Hackers are always looking for the path of least resistance when they’re trying to gain access to a system. In many cases, this doesn’t involve vulnerable technology, but rather the people using it. Cybersecurity measures are, for the most part, only as effective at halting an attack as people are at implementing them. As such, cybercriminals often prefer to exploit human weakness rather than technology itself.
Social engineering scams are some of the easiest ways to deliver malicious software as well as the preferred method for stealing confidential information like user account credentials. Scammers often pose as representatives of legitimate brands or choose to impersonate colleagues or even company executives to build trust. Once they’ve earned a victim’s trust, they’ll then dupe them into disclosing confidential information or downloading a harmful email attachment.
Keylogger software works by recording every keystroke on a computer, including usernames, passwords, emails, and instant messages. These logs may then be automatically emailed to the attacker without the victim knowing. For hackers trying to gain access to a secure system, this presents an extremely easy way to get around password-based security.
Making matters worse is that keyloggers are widely available; they’re not just restricted to dark-web marketplaces like ransomware and other advanced malware. That’s because some keyloggers do have semi-legitimate uses, such as for monitoring children or employees, although these programs don’t usually run invisibly. As such, some keyloggers won’t be picked up by antivirus software.
When data is being transmitted over a wireless connection, it’s easy for a hacker to intercept it using readily available software. Much like law-enforcement agencies have been tapping phones for decades, wireless network eavesdroppers can listen in” on data being transmitted between a device and the local router. If the data isn’t encrypted, they might be able to gain access to all sorts of sensitive information.
Network eavesdropping is a common problem in unsecured public wireless networks, such as those often found in cafés, airports, and other public venues. The risk factor is exponentially higher if the network isn’t protected by a key. Fortunately, by connecting through an enterprise-grade virtual private network (VPN) that encrypts all data in transit, you should be able to use any public network safely.
Clickjacking is a common attack method that works by exploiting vulnerabilities found in web browsers and other platforms. Hackers use clickjacking to display fake windows or websites that look like the real thing to the user but are designed to capture confidential information or redirect them to a different website without them knowing. Malicious browser add-ons might also be used for clickjacking attacks.
One of the most common clickjacking methods involves imitating a webpage from a domain that looks legitimate, but what’s really there is actually malicious. For example, the malicious webpage might look like it belongs to Google but is disguised as such to capture Gmail login credentials.
Are cybersecurity challenges keeping you awake at night? Enteracloud helps organizations in San Diego get their technology back under their control with dependable solutions. Schedule your free consultation today.