Imagine a scenario where you purchased an item online using a public hotspot. A couple of days or hours after you receive a push message from your bank showing a debit. Money which you didn’t withdraw or use yourself. You’ve probably just suffered a man-in-the-middle attack on the public WiFi network you were using.
Man-in-the-middle attacks are some of the most common types of cyberattacks. While public networks are a great way to save money on mobile data, there is an increased chance of falling victim to a MITM attack. Public networks are susceptible to MITM attacks because they are easy to access and are potentially quite lucrative. Passwords and other sensitive information can be sniffed and used maliciously.
Understanding MITM attacks can help you become a better cybersecurity or infosec student and write better essays. You can buy an essay in this area from a real cybersec expert or pen-tester at unbeatable prices. In the meantime, you can read more about how man-in-the-middle attacks work and how a VPN is the best way to avoid them here.
What Is a MXan-in-the-Middle Attack?
A man-in-the-middle attack can be a scenario where data is being “sniffed” by malware. In this case, the attacker gathers crucial data about the target and uses that information against them, or for some unlawful purpose. The attacker may also alter or misdirect data to deceive the target, the router, or for purposes of causing damage.
Essentially, a hacker inserts themselves in between two or more communication devices. These are usually a router and the uptake device (phone or PC). The hacker does this without being noticed. The hacker can then target malware or reroute information meant for other users to a collecting package.
A Summary of the Types of MITM Attacks
A MITM attacker can insert themselves in between communication devices in several different ways. These include:
- IP spoofing: where the attacker supplies the victim with a false IP address, impersonating another computer system.
- DNS spoofing: whereby the hacker alters DNS server records to redirect the victim’s traffic to a fraudulent network or website.
- HTTPS spoofing: where the attacker creates a domain that looks similar to the requested domain address and is done through Punycode.
- SSL hijacking: refers to spoofing or circumventing the security certificates on HTTPS sites, downgrading them to a weak HTTP protocol.
- Email spoofing: in which malware may be sent by email.
In the case of DNS spoofing, a hacker could recreate the PayPal website and redirect the victim to this false website. Once the victim inputs information such as passwords and usernames, the hacker could phish the info with a scraping packet.
A Practical Example of a Man-in-the-Middle Attack
A hacker has set up an interface on a WiFi network. The WiFi router sends and receives packet requests from devices all over this network. A hacker could, for example, set up a network analyzer or packet sniffer such as Wireshark. The hacker can then deploy techniques such as ARP poisoning. ARP stands for Address Resolution Protocol. Each device has an IP and MAC address, and these are all that a hacker needs to sniff a network with ARP poisoning.
Ettercap is one such application that is useful for conducting ethical MITM attacks and penetration testing. Ettercap can communicate between a router and the device under attack. The hacker can tell the router through Ettercap that data meant for one device should go to another IP address. Initially, Ettercap might return all the traffic passing through the network within a given amount of time. Filtering of specific IP and MAC addresses can be done on the software.
If the data passing through the network is SLS or TLS-secured, this data will probably be encrypted. However, not all traffic that passes through a network is encrypted; an attacker can therefore view HTTP information in cleartext. Videos and images can be seen and downloaded.
Conclusion? Use a Solid VPN for Secure Encryption
You can’t trust that all public WiFi systems that you use will be full-proof. A MITM attack exposes you to the potential loss of sensitive private and financial data. Encrypting your communication using a VPN is your best bet to ensure your data integrity.
Other measures you can take include using a password manager for all your passwords and online accounts, and to ensure that you only visit websites that employ encryption protocols.
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