7 Common Hacking Methods
In today’s world, security is more important than ever. With the astronomical volume of sensitive information stored online, fortifying your IT system is crucial. One way to reinforce your system’s security is through hardware upgrades. New hardware is typically stronger and faster, and it’s less likely to have workarounds that make your operating system vulnerable to a data breach.
In addition to upgrading computer hardware, it’s worthwhile to educate yourself and your employees on hacking methods. All it takes is one wrong click to compromise your entire system. Knowing about common hacking techniques can make all the difference.
Cybercriminals know how to hack into a computer or system by exploiting areas of weakness. To do so, they use multiple attack vectors. What is an attack vector? It’s the method hackers use to gain access to private data. Different types of hackers use different attack vectors, depending on their motives.
Understanding the most common types of hacking methods can help you anticipate problems and resolve issues before they become threatening. So, what are the most common types of computer hacking methods?
The Most Frequent Hacking Method is Phishing
Phishing is the most common hacking technique. These are emails or other messages designed to look like they’re from a trustworthy source. Hackers might use social engineering to appear as a reputable company. Most of the time, this type of attack will trick you into clicking an attachment or link. This is often done in one of the following ways:
- Offering free goods
- Asking for confirmation of personal information
- Attaching a phony invoice
- Advising you to update your username and password
- Saying there’s a problem with your account or credit card information
There are many tools that can prevent phishing attacks. Other options include upgrading hardware and upgrading technology. You can also take these steps:
- Check the sender’s email address to make sure it matches the company they claim to represent.
- Avoid clicking links in emails unless you are expecting this type of message.
- Verify the link with the sender before clicking.
- Report all phishing correspondence to the Federal Trade Commission.
Bait and Switch Attack
A bait and switch attack uses trusted marketing communication to trick users into visiting a malicious site. This site will try to install malware, which can gather personal information, disrupt your system’s functionality, or even gain complete system access. If an advertisement sounds too good to be true, then it probably is. Hackers can buy ad space online and replace a genuine ad with a bad link that can compromise your system.
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Denial of Service Attack
The goal of a denial of service (DoS) attack is shutting down an entire system, making it inaccessible. This is done by overwhelming the system with traffic or sending information that causes a crash. To pull this off, hackers use a network of computers that are infected with malware. These devices flood your system, leading to a crash.
A man-in-the-middle (MITM) attack is when a third party positions itself in the middle of a connection or data transfer. There are two different types of MITM attacks. The first of these involves proximity to the intended target of the attack. This often happens with poorly secured WiFi routers and free public hotspots. Once attackers find a point of vulnerability, they can intercept confidential data.
The second type of MITM attack can be done by phishing. This gives the cybercriminal a way to put malware onto the victim’s computer system. This malware installs itself unbeknownst to the victim and transmits information to the attacker.
Here are a few steps you can take to protect your system from a MITM attack:
- Avoid connecting to public WiFi if possible.
- Make sure your personal and business WiFi connections are secure.
- Be on the lookout for potential phishing emails, especially if they ask for updated password information.
Viruses and Trojans
Viruses and trojans are forms of malicious software or code. When they’re installed on your computer, they send data to the hacker. If you’ve ever wondered how to find out someone’s password, the answer is often through malware.
They can cause many harmful actions, including locking your files, stealing account information, and disrupting communication. Viruses can also cause unwanted ads, pop-ups, and browser tabs to open spontaneously.
You can protect yourself from viruses and trojans through the following actions:
- Develop a password management system using different combinations of numbers, letters, and symbols.
- Back up your files periodically.
- Run software diagnostic scans regularly.
- Be aware of technology upgrades and update your system’s software to stay current.
- Don’t click on suspicious links.
An SQL injection is another attack vector that targets data-driven applications. This type of attack uses malicious SQL code to gain access to private information. It targets databases using SQL statements, tricking systems into performing unwanted actions.
A successful SQL injection can be detrimental to any person or business. Some steps to prevent it include the following:
- Using a firewall.
- Remove old, unused code.
- Ensure your software is up-to-date.
- Use roles and privileges to control how users interact with your database. Doing so can limit the impact a hacker can have on your data.
This type of hacking method targets rows of computer memory cells. It hammers these memory cells, causing an electrical charge that alters an adjacent row of RAM. This process can be enough to gain root access to an entire system.
Some hardware and software mitigations can help prevent rowhammer attacks. However, rowhammer attacks are becoming a bigger issue as system memory capacities increase. By adding more memory, computers need increasingly smaller memory cells. Since these cells are squeezed in closer together, it causes rowhammer attacks to become more efficient.
How Software and Hardware Upgrades and Can Help
To ensure no one in your organization falls prey to these types of hacks, it’s wise to develop a security plan. Working with a technology expert can ensure you upgrade hardware and software as needed. Keeping your system up-to-date and staying on top of PC upgrades can protect your system from many attack vectors.
At Attentus, we make IT solutions simple. We offer customizable managed IT services options to integrate with your business. With 24/7 support and world-class consulting, we mitigate challenges before they become problematic.
Reach out today to schedule your free consultation and technology assessment.