Here’s how a hacker attack works and how to defend yourself
Dear Tecnogalaxy readers, today we will talk about the techniques used by a hacker to carry out an attack, we will also see how to defend ourselves and what protective barriers to raise.
Let’s immediately clarify the term Hacker, coming from the English language that designates a person who uses his computer skills to explore the details of programmable systems and experiments how to extend their use. The hacker is not necessarily the ill-intentioned person who breaks into systems and steals data, passwords, credit card numbers etc.
How a hacker attack works
As in all fields and in all jobs there are the good and the bad, the so called good hackers (white hat), are known as ethical hackers, in recent years we have often heard of ethical hackers, those who know the techniques of attack but use their knowledge to defend companies, institutions or individuals.
In general, a hacker is appreciated and respected for his ability to think outside the box and always find a logical and reasonable solution to the most complex problems.
Unfortunately, with the passage of time, the original meaning of the term hacke has been lost, because as said before there are good and bad guys. Initially they made changes to the kernel of various operating systems so as to recover lost passwords from their colleagues/friends.
They began the first intrusions inside computer systems with little protection, all this to show that it was possible, unfortunately crossed the blurred border beyond which begins the hacking technique realized however for malicious purposes “illegal”, such as the theft of important sensitive information or system resources.
Over time, two new figures have been added, the “script kiddie” and the “cracker“, the first is a person who is not in possession of in-depth knowledge of hacking, (such as a hacker), simply makes use of ready-made material to hack computers, servers such as scripts, exploits, etc.
The “cracker” instead exploits the base of his technical knowledge placing himself halfway between the script kiddie and the hacker.
The cracker in fact is able to violate programs and to bypass the special protections that prevent the execution of pirated copies.
Compared to the hacker he is not prepared from a technical point of view, in order to be able to discover new vulnerabilities by himself, or to create tools to be used for hacking.
The meaning of hacker with time has changed and has been classified as “black or white”, with specific terms translated into English as: “black hat“, “white hat”.
The black hat is the bad hacker, the one who uses his knowledge for illegal purposes, violating computer systems just for money, performing DDos attacks, stealing sensitive data or on commission or to be sold on the black market of the Dark Web.
What strategy and technique does a black hat use to carry out an attack?
Usually there are 5 phases of an attack, normally an attacker follows a gradual process, divided into several steps, some of these steps begin months before the targets are hit.
First phase (target identification)
An ill-intentioned person, as first thing, must identify the target to hit, whether it is for private purposes or on commission, and then plan how to set up the attack.
Once the target has been identified, the study phase starts, gathering as much information as possible about the company and especially about its security system. A targeted social engineering campaign is carried out (technique used to steal the data that will be used in the attack).
A professional will create a false website, I will visit the structure also participating in the events organized by the company that will be attacked, (this phase can last a long time), finished this phase starts the planning of the attack.
Second phase (intrusion)
The attacker chooses, based on the information gathered in the first phase, how to violate the company security system.
In this phase the attacker enters (as they say in slang in tiptoe), to prepare the war ground to use when the attack will be launched. He will certainly use phishing techniques, appropriating network credentials or installing malware on computers.
The main goal of an attacker is to gain complete control of the devices remotely, this is a delicate phase, the success or failure of the actual attack depends on it.
Third phase (study of the business network)
At this point the attacker studies the entire company network making a map of the servers and of the entire network.
It begins the part of analysis to understand where are the databases that guard sensitive information, (password of access to the network, login and password of the users etc…), as said before all this part occurs months or weeks before the attack has been identified.
Fourth phase (access to company data)
Once the access credentials are obtained, the attacker takes control of the computer systems of the company, this is a very hot phase of the attack, because the attacker compromises all the channels of the network and can make public the violation.
At this step the cybercriminal has access to all servers of the company, being able to recover: emails, sensitive documents, customer information, product recipes, etc.
Fifth phase (final attack)
At this stage, the hacker comes out of the woodwork, blocking the entire company’s activities and demanding a ransom.
In this type of attack the data contained in the affected machines has been encrypted a ransomware, by now it is too late to stop the threat, a threat that started months before it was detected.
How do you protect yourself from a hacker attack?
As we have said several times in our articles, you need to invest in computer security, not only by using sophisticated protection systems, but also by keeping your devices continuously updated (in fact, a vulnerability in just one computer is enough to compromise the entire company network).
Train your employees on the techniques used by the malicious so as to be ready to face in the bud an attack of a malicious.hacker. As seen, the hackers succeed to obtain the credentials of access to the corporate network, through the phishing, deceptive technique with which the victims are led to reveal the secret data.
As always, make good use of it by testing it on your device/computer, testing it on devices/computers that are not yours is illegal.
N.B.: I do not assume any responsibility for the use you will make of the guide, as it is written for educational use.
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