My buddy Bharat Bhise HNA is an ethical hacker who spends a great amount of time testing out his client’s cybersecurity software. Each time I meet up with Bharat he tells me more scary tales of what illegal hackers and cybercriminals are capable of and when you hear them it is easy to see why companies spend s much money on hiring people like Bharat to keep their systems safe. There are many types of attacks which hackers can employ in order to cause destruction, financial damage or simply send messages to their victims, and it is worth learning about them in order for you to be aware of what potential threats are out there.
Many of us think that as long as we have a safe and secure system to log into, that the only way in which we can be attacked is if someone obtained the password. Unfortunately however this is not entirely accurate and when we take a look at the Man in the Middle attack we can see exactly why. This attack is actually very simple and it involves the hacker taking control of a person’s computer prior to them logging in to a secure system. Once the user logs in, the hacker seizes control, logs out and changes the user’s IP address for their own, before logging back in again. This gives the hacker remote access to the ‘secure’ system, which in turn gives access to whatever information is in there.
Another very easy to perform attack is a Phishing scam, essentially this involves sending out emails with either links in them, which download a virus when clicked on, or with mirror sites to banking websites or PayPal, with a call to action for a password change or something similar. In the case of the latter, this could give access to a person’s bank account or PayPal account. In the case of the former this can cause havoc for businesses who will then have to pay to have viruses removed, and they may also have given the hacker remote access to the information on the computer on which it was downloaded. The easy answer here is not to open any suspicious looking emails.
Denial of Service Attack
When Sony and Visa were hacked a couple of years ago the warning shot which was fired by the hackers was called a DoS attack, or a Denial of Service. These attacks are usually used to send a message and exhibit the power which the hacker has. Normally we see teams of hackers carrying out this attack because it requires hundreds of thousands of requests to be sent to a network or server, all at once. The result is that the server cannot handle so many requests and so it is forced to shutdown, and deny service to the website.
There are many more types of attacks which we see but these are by far the most common, mainly because they are the easiest to perform.