Hackers employ various techniques and tools to steal information stored by us online. The main intention behind several cyber-attacks is data theft from which hackers gain credentials, personal data and financial information. In recent research, “Data breach average cost increased 2.6% from USD 4.24 million in 2021 to USD 4.35 million in 2022.” But how do hackers gain access to our systems even after cybersecurity policies and online protection tools?
Different hacking techniques
Here are some techniques by which hackers steal information:-
A brute force is a technique where hackers use employing trial and error to crack users’ passwords. Brute got its name from attackers who tried to force. Although this is an age-old technique to hack online systems, brute force still remains popular with many. The attack is simple but requires special tactics to get unauthorized access to other people’s accounts. Hacker may use several names, password combinations or useful information which often works and matches with correct login details.
Smishing or SMS phishing is a phishing cyber security attack that uses mobile text messaging. Such attacks involve a disguised attacker sending sensitive information to the targeted user, which then leads them to a fraud or malware site. Smishing can also take place through fraudulent emails where the hacker sends a malicious link to the recipient instead of a text message. Once you click upon the link, your site will be redirected to cybercriminals’ websites that might try to steal your personal data, money or for other purposes.
Apart from using malware, hackers may use technology to gain access to targeted systems . For instance, network analyzers can help interlopers to check and intercept data from users’ networks, including system passwords. It becomes very easy for the hacker if he somehow gets access to the network switch or wireless network. Hackers use analyzers to search and capture password traffic. Although a VPN can help users in eliminating such vulnerabilities but in a network where multiple users work together, the system remains unguarded most of the time.
Spidering and shoulder surfing
Criminals can easily hack into the accounts of the target person by using various methods to steal passwords. One of the common ways is spidering where hackers keep a track of their target details such as relationships, workplace and home environment. They may also use social engineering ways to get the right username or password combinations. Shoulder surfing is when hackers look over your shoulder to determine your system’s MFA security code or login credentials sent via text. They would always snoop around users’ tables or areas for passwords scribbled at any place.
One of the most common tools used by hackers to steal your online information is malware sites. There are hundreds of malware families which can steal anything secretly, lock them up or destroy data files completely. While keylogging malware tracks the keystrokes typed by users in a pin pad or a keypad, spying malware can hack webcams to watch and record users’ movements. Ransomware is another malware attack that aims to block target users’ access to data or systems until the user meets the demands of the criminals. There is other malware that will simply sit on your system background and collect data, browser cache and passwords for the hackers.
In compromised credential hackers try to enter into a variety of online accounts using lists of compromised credentials. This attack’s objective is to either completely take over the hacked account or to steal any financial or personal details. Since APIs are frequently used for authentication, this kind of attack poses a serious risk to the security of APIs. Many people using the same password across multiple accounts is the foundation of compromised credential attacks. Having become the target of a massive scammer attack, the person can only deactivate accounts and change passwords.
DDoS (Distributed Denial of Service)
In DDoS attack hackers try to disrupt a user’s server traffic or service network by overwhelming the surrounding infrastructure with internet traffic. The purpose behind DDoS attack is accomplished once multiple computer systems are compromised because of a source traffic attack. The exploited devices can be computers or networked resources like IoT devices. If your device becomes slow all of a sudden without any network issue, it means its a DDoS attack.
How to protect your system from hackers?
- Use two-factor authentication wherever possible for all your online and offline accounts. Biometric passwords also prove effective such as patterns, fingerprints or physical fobs to provide second verification.
- Hackers may exploit software vulnerabilities that could have been solved by the device company if you keep your phone and other networked devices up-to-date.
- Never download or upload unofficial apps on your computers or mobile phones. Through these apps hackers Steal Information Using Different Techniques.
- Before downloading apps, read permissions or requirements of applications such as camera, location info, and microphone and in-app purchases.
- Delete software or applications which you do not use or need.
- You must disable the ‘run as administrator’ option in your device and never root or jailbreak your phone. If a hacker manages to gain control over your device’s programs, they will not be able to control the phone, change settings or upload malicious software to hack data.
- For sensitive transactions, use private browsing mode or VPNs.
- Deactivate the autofill option even though it is time-saving or convenient in the long run. Just like you love them, hackers also like the auto-fill option. First, hackers usually visit the auto-fill page on your device, where they can find your information to access your account details.
- Use screen lock and install software that wipes data if you lose your device.
- Also protect the router to prevent data hacking. You can secure them by keeping strong passwords that have a combination of letters, symbols, numbers and special characters.
- Never forget to log out after you have completed your browsing work or done with an application. Although many social media sites and bank accounts are automatically logged out after a fixed time, hackers can still access them within seconds while running in the background.