The advent of advanced technology has made the world a global village. It is now possible to do business across physical borders, national borders and even far-flung continents. Consequently, a natural outcome of this evolution is the growth of financial transactions and the networks that support them.
Individuals and corporate bodies alike, of necessity, must utilize credit cards, email accounts, and user credentials. Due to the confidential and highly classified information contained within these resources, unscrupulous individuals target both the devices that store such data and the networks that transmit them.
Welcome to the world of hackers. Hacking(1) is an illegal activity aimed at stealing or gaining unauthorized access to classified information by either altering its structure or taking advantage of its weaknesses. Essentially, hacking techniques are the various methods used to achieve this nefarious objective.
Statistics of Hacking Techniques
The statistics below serve to buttress the critical danger posed by hacking activities:
- Profits from illegal hacking amounted to $600 billion in 2018.
- The cybersecurity budget in the US was $14.98 billion in 2019.
- There are over 715,000 cybersecurity experts employed in the US alone to counter this threat.
- White hat hackers earned over $19 million in 2018.
- Hackers create 300,000 new pieces of malware every day.
- 75% of all attacked businesses reported fraudulent emails.
- 15% of UK businesses lost control over a network to a hacker.
- Up until March 2019, more than 14 billion data records had been lost or stolen.
- The giant corporation Yahoo suffered a series of data breaches that amounted to 3 billion compromised accounts. This is still the most significant data breach in the history of humanity.
Basics of Hacking Techniques
These include the following:
Understanding first principles:
You must thoroughly understand UNIX and UNIX like operating systems such as LINUX. The internet runs on these operating systems. Then you must learn and become skilled at Hypertext markup language (HTML).
Imbibe a hacker’s mindset:
You must learn to think creatively, essentially out of the box. Then you must develop your love and capacity for solving problems. In addition to this, you must be prepared to contest the restriction and suppression of information. Finally, you must actively improve your degree of competence.
You must practice writing open-source software programs that meet widespread needs. These programs can be given away free to the hacking community without any copyrights. You can make these programs robust by modifying and improving upon them.
You can also aid this process by offering to test and debug such programs. Publishing useful information that addresses frequently asked questions is good. Helping to maintain the engineering development of the internet as well as serving the hacker culture helps to boost your proficiency.
Best Firewall Hacking Techniques
Here are some firewall hacking techniques:
Exploitation of application vulnerabilities:
Applications like the Windows operating system have weaknesses that can serve as a point of entry to hackers. Therefore, you must ensure your operating system has all the recent patches in place as well as update your antivirus tools.
Social engineering attacks:
Often people serve as the weakest link in a network’s defenses. Individuals can often be deceived into handing over login details or admin access credentials. You must counter this by utilizing 2-factor authentications as a safeguard.
Unauthorized physical access:
Network defenses may be useless if the physical location is unsecured. This is because a hacker can physically gain entry into the premises and access an unsecured server.
Off site network attacks:
A commonly used firewall hacking technique is the out of office network attack. Public Wi-Fi access networks constitute a grave danger because hackers can set up clones of such access points to “steal” your sensitive data such as financial and medical records. It is best to avoid online shopping activity that would require your credit card information if you are not sure the site is secure.
What are the Best Ethical Hacking Techniques
This involves the collation of as much information as possible about the application in question and its functional logic. The more knowledge you gain the greater will be the degree of success for penetration testing. You can use search engines, scanners and simple HTTP requests to do this.
The data is scanned for vulnerabilities that exist in the application. This could include authentication mechanisms, web server, input-based and function-specific vulnerabilities.
The vulnerability analysis will reveal the weak links and areas susceptible to attack. A list of these points is generated and exploited.
This is the common point where the testers, results and target entity come together. The analysis reveals to the target entity the techniques and tools used by hackers; vulnerable points of exposure exploited by hackers as well as the procedures used.
Most Common Hacking Techniques
Here is a complete explanation of the common hacking techniques:
This involves the cloning of a website by a hacker. The objective is to steal private confidential information from a victim. The hacker sets up a Trojan on the fake site, which collects the information when the victim logs in to the site or enters sensitive data like passwords or financial information.
Viruses and Malicious Code:
This category of threat known as malware is dangerous, deadly and destructive. Once installed it can wreak havoc with a victim’s device, system or network. Data can be stolen, files locked out and traffic diverted. What is even worse is that the malicious code could replicate within the system and wipe out valuable information.
Hackers have devised this new method to defraud unsuspecting victims. The victim’s user interface (UI) is covered and he or she made to click elsewhere. Consequently, the victim clicks on a fake user interface, which takes the person to another page unknown to the individual.
Cookies are little text files stored on your system or browser cache when you access various websites. These files can carry a lot of personal, sensitive and valuable information about you. These could include your browsing history, user credentials, passwords, and financial information. If stolen, these cookies can be decrypted or read to obtain your personal information or can be used to impersonate you thereby enabling fraudulent financial activity.
Denial of Service (DoS\DDoS):
The objective of this hacking technique is to bring down a site or network by overloading it. This is done by issuing excessive login attempts, data requests and repetitive tasks that exceed the capacity of the servers. Malware infection particularly makes networks vulnerable to this form of attack. The malicious code replicates at a massive rate, which floods the servers with unmanageable traffic.
A Domain Name Server (DNS) serves as the traffic warden of the internet. DNS servers point your device in the direction to go when you enter in the URL of a website. DNS spoofing can happen in a number of ways like corrupting data from a DNS, taking it over as well as corrupting data before it gets to you. The result is to direct the user to a site where he or she can then be victimized.
Hackers often search for vulnerabilities to exploit in SQL databases. Once the individual finds weaknesses, codes are then inserted into the text fields the website will run, such as passwords or usernames to extract sensitive information. Furthermore, data can be corrupted, deleted or altered. Primarily this method of attack’s focus is first the website then subsequently the visitors.
Hackers implement this technique using a program called a Keylogger. What it does is to capture the sequence and strokes you make on your keyboard into a log file on your system. This could be sensitive information like your password or email ID. This makes you vulnerable to manipulation.
Non-Targeted Website Hack:
In this case, a hacker rather than going for a specific website embarks on the massive hacking of numerous websites. This is possible because of similar weaknesses that exist across websites such as CMS, plug-in and template vulnerabilities.
This is a simple method hackers use to gain access to a website. The hacker repeatedly tries several password combinations until the individual succeeds. This is possible when weak password combinations are used.
The hacker’s objective is to attack the most accessible physical point of the victim. The hacker observes the victim’s favorite place and timing, which is usually a public meeting place like a coffee shop, cafeteria or shopping mall.
Such a place also makes it easy to inject and spread a virus to the maximum number of victims. Usually, the hacker connects to the public Wi-Fi available in the target location. It is also best to verify the credentials of the public network before logging on.
This is one of the simplest techniques used by fraudsters. The hacker creates a fake Wi-Fi access point such that it redirects the victim to the hacker’s page in order to steal their personal information. The best way to counter this threat is to use a Virtual Private Network (VPN) service.
Eavesdropping (Passive Attacks):
This mode of attack is different from the others in the sense of being passive while others are active. Active attacks set out to harm a network by corrupting data and compromising networks. A passive attack takes place when the hacker wants to monitor a network in order to obtain valuable information without detection.
This form of attack is very common in movie streaming, torrent websites, and app downloads. The victim is deceived into clicking on a hidden link, which allows the hacker to hijack the clicks of the victim.
Bait and Switch:
This is an extremely dangerous form of hacking. The strategy used by the attacker is to purchase advertising space on websites. When a victim clicks on it the individual is redirected to a page that automatically infects the person’s system with massive doses of malware. The installed malware then grants the hacker unfettered access to the victim’s system.
This is a broad generic term for all manner of unwanted and harmful programs such as viruses, trojans, worms, adware, spyware, and ransomware. Malware can seize control of your system, monitor your actions and steal confidential data. Hackers often induce victims to install malware by carrying out specific actions like clicking on a link, downloading a file or opening an attachment.
Cross-Site Scripting (XSS):
The main objective of a hacker’s assault, in this case, is not the website but the visitor to the website. Malicious code injected into the website installs itself into a user’s web browser when the person visits the attacked site. The hacker simply inserts harmful code into a comment or script that runs automatically.
Session Hijacking and Man-in-the-Middle Attacks:
Every time you log on to a website or browse transactions is taking place over the internet. This process of identification and/or request for specific website services is called a session. The session taking place between you and a remote web server has a unique session id.
A hacker can capture that session-id thus taking control of the session and impersonate the user requesting for information from the webserver. This makes it possible for the hacker to steal valuable information.
Due to the many passwords and usernames required by numerous websites, users often resort to reusing old credentials. This makes the user highly vulnerable to attack as hackers rightly assume the same credentials are in use elsewhere.
If a hacker successfully compromises one such site and obtains an individual’s credentials those details can provide access to a user’s email, bank account, and social media data, which would be disastrous.
Man in the Middle (MITM) Attack:
This takes place when a hacker intercepts data transmitted between two or more sites. This enables them to monitor conversations, as well as view and/or alter data in transit such as banking transactions.
Public Wi-Fi networks and hotspots are particularly vulnerable to this form of attack. The solution is to ensure the information is encrypted from source to destination. This can be achieved using a VPN.
Today, humans are heavily dependent on the internet for so many things. Unfortunately, hackers have created powerful malware that can easily compromise the security of systems used. Most IoT devices are highly vulnerable because people use the factory default passwords given and do not bother to change it.
In addition to this, most of these devices transmit data without a security scan leading to the proliferation of malware. Devices and appliances like smart TVs, smart wristwatches, refrigerators, air conditioners, and home pods are at risk.
The targets of this kind of attack are organizations, corporate bodies, and business entities. Hackers use outright deception or psychological manipulation to lure unsuspecting victims into divulging critical and often classified information. This hacking technique employs the human element.
Frequently Asked Questions about Hacking Techniques
Q. What are semi passive hacking techniques?
A. This has to do with information gathering that involves profiling a target. In this case, methods that simulate normal internet traffic and behavior are used.
Q. What is the most powerful of all hacking techniques?
A. Denial of Service and Distributed Denial of service (DoS/DDoS) is capable of bringing down an entire complex network.
Q. What do I need to perform hacking using ethical hacking techniques?
A. You will require working knowledge and proficiency in :
- Operating systems: UNIX, LINUX
- Hypertext Markup Language (HTML)
Hackers use a wide variety of hacking techniques to compromise data assets. All such techniques rest upon one basic foundational concept: vulnerability. Therefore, it is important to protect network, business and data assets by all lawful means possible. This involves keeping all software current with the latest versions of patches and constantly maintaining updated antivirus and antimalware systems.
In addition, company staff must be educated on security threats and given basic knowledge to avoid, resist and deter social engineering hacking techniques. The premises where assets are located must be physically secure and administrators must develop an IT policy that dictates the use of data assets and resources even when off site (outside company premises).