Wireless Network is Virtually The Most Dangerous Place You Have Ever Visited
So you have installed a firewall, and your e-commerce and login page have an SSL certificate on. Surely you and your clients’ personal information and privacy are now protected, right? Wrong! Your wireless network is one of the most vulnerable components of your defenses, and is most likely to become a target for hackers nowadays. Your only weapon to fight cyber-criminals off is knowledge, and today we have plenty of it for you.
How can a phishing attack put on a semblance of a legit MAC alert? Why is there effectively no defense against sidejacking? What is the best protection against sniffers? Keep reading to learn this and much more.
The most common types of WiFi network attacks and how to avoid them
Wireless network is vulnerable by its nature, since it interacts with devices that are outside of the protection of physical hardwired defenses. As an attempt to cure the situation, in recent years most WiFi networks became protected with a WPA2 security protocol. Nevertheless, they remain the weak link of a web infrastructure and easily attract all sorts of cyber attacks.
Arguably the most infamous type of attack. It resorts to numerous ways of “asking” a user for access rather than breaching defenses on a software level. It ranges from impersonating someone who might really require access to a system, to leaving malware-infected curiously labeled USB flash drives or disks and waiting for a victim to insert it in their PC. The only way to effectively protect against social engineering is sharing information about it and properly training everyone with an access to the network.
A very notorious type of social engineering is phishing. It has come to be especially widespread after WPA2 and other security tools became common. In this technique, a victim receives an email or, more popular recently, a customized alert depending on the software they use. Inside, they find a request from legitimately-looking entity to “verify” their personal information to avoid some sort of dire consequences. It can be anything – an email from a bank about the account being compromised, MAC alert about the system getting infected, or a network manager asking for the password to reset a connection.
Somewhat elusive, this is the type of attack that is the most difficult for a simple user to defend against, as it plays on websites owners’ laziness. Some sites took the habit of only encrypting e-commerce and login pages, leaving all others unprotected. Due to this flaw, it’s possible to intercept user’s personal data when he is being redirected to such an unprotected page after authentication.
Unfortunately, with sidejacking tools like Firesheep and Ferret being quite popular and easy-to-use, this type of attack is getting more traction within the hacker community. And while it’s somewhat easy to prevent on the website owner side by always using SSL, sidejacking still remains an issue. The only way for users to protect themselves against such attacks is always checking the protocols used by a website.
This type combines different techniques of stealing user credentials and identities using hacking software. One of such techniques is called sniffing. It utilizes a program or a device that insensibly penetrates a wireless network and monitors all the data passing within it. After aggregating large amounts of information, it can be filtered and analyzed to find specific content like passwords, email messages, documents, etc.
Authentication attacks can be avoided completely if your network is protected by professional software and a team of specialists. However, there is a more convenient and way cheaper solution to protect yourself – by using a Virtual Private Network like VPN Unlimited. You see, the way VPN’s work, the main difference between them and proxy servers is that the former encrypt all the data passing through. Which means, even if criminals obtain your information, they will not be able to understand and analyze it.
Forewarned is forearmed
Although we have told you about the most common dangers to your cybersecurity, it’s impossible to create a short AND comprehensive guide on this topic. Hacking methods are ever-shifting, and so should be your defenses. Fortunately, there are actually not that many professional hackers, and they usually target c-suites, or even whole governments and economies. So for most people simple precautionary measures should be sufficient.
Always check the identity of who you’re sharing your personal information with. Always make sure that the websites you visit are properly protected. And always use VPN when joining wireless networks, especially public ones. Speaking of which, VPN Unlimited offers a 7-day trial of their services. Download it and check yourself the levels of security it provides!