Techniques Cyber-criminals Uses to Get Access to Your System and How to Protect Yourself?

It is a common myth that the internet is so vast that it won’t be easy to attack my system. Most of the people believe that they are safe from the attacks of cyber criminals. But the reality is different; cybercrimes are one of the most committed crimes all over the world. It was the second most reported crime globally in 2016. These crimes make up around 50% of the total offense in the UK too.

Whom Cybercriminals Target?

Cybercriminals usually target weak, unpatched systems. These systems can get easily hacked and can later be used to introduce many other attacks.

Now it is a matter of common observation when the news is breaking about any mega data hacks. Hundreds of credit cards details getting leaked, identity theft of millions of users, email details, social security numbers, and date of births stolen in a militant attack isn’t surprising at all.

Majority of computer hacks basis is sweeping and random searches of all systems connected to the internet. As a result, every computer becomes a target. These probes effectively detect any unprotected computer while the hacker picks up the information.

The hackers quite welcome vulnerable computers because of such system’s computing powers and internet connections. A cybercriminal might add it to a botnet or can only use it as a zombie computer. Also, to send out spam and emails which contain viruses and malware spread some illegal material, and to participate in hacking drives against any other computer networks.

Well! We always talk about cybercrimes and hacking activities increasing day by day but in an era where technology is making progress how these criminals commit such crimes? Besides taking preventive measures, it is essential to know that how cybercriminals perform cybercrimes?

The answer is simple. The techniques which a cybercriminal adopts makes it possible to carry out cybercrimes.

An attacker adopts several different ways to get access to target’s system to carry out cybercrimes. But the question is what these ways are?

In this article, we’ll be discussing the techniques which cybercriminals often use to target an organization network typically.  Moreover, we would also be discussing different ways by which you can protect your organization from becoming a victim. Let’s find out more about it.

Top 8 Techniques Cybercriminals Uses:

Cybercrime is an ongoing threat for sure. To protect ourselves it is essential to know the methods which make it possible for cybercriminals to attack us or our networks. Discussed below are some of the techniques cybercriminals use to get access to our system at an organizational level.

  1. Drive-by Downloads:

It is one of the most common techniques used by cybercriminals. In this technique, the attacker silently installs malware on the target’s system. The victim’s website gets altered with some form of exploitation which can be a browser, plugin misuse, invisible iframes, and JavaScript. The attacker might bait or wait for the target to browse to the web page.

When the target browses the web page so, it looks completely normal to them, but conversely, the feat executes and silently installs malware. The moment when malware makes it way on the target’s system, the attacker can carry out their goals and intentions.

To protect your system from this type of attack, experts suggest using an updated web browser version along with plugins. You can run an anti-malware software to avoid the effects of malware attacks.

Also, Microsoft suggests using Enhanced Mitigation Experience Toolkit and Windows Defender Exploit Guard for better safety and security.

  1. Hardware Additions:

Various computer, network accomplices, and computer accessories are often used as a path to get access to a system in this technique.

Both viable and open source products might involve features like furtive network connections, keystroke injection, adding up a new wireless network, reading kernel memory through DMA, MITM attacks execution for encryption cracking, and many more.

You can protect yourself by blocking network interaction with unlisted tools. Experts also suggest limiting the use of DHCP to register devices only. Moreover, also adopt specific policies for network access controls like certificates for devices and IEEE 802.1X standards.

Also, you can restrict the acquisition of unidentified external devices by using host protection mechanisms.

  1. Using Valid Accounts:

The cybercriminals might also steal credentials of a particular user or a service account via the Credential Access technique. They can also seize the credentials before time during their exploration process via social engineering using gaining Initial Access.

The stolen credentials might be used to bypass access controls present on different resources on systems within the network. However, the attacker also uses it for continuous access to remote systems and externally available services. It includes VPNs, Outlook Web Access and remote desktop.

These credentials might grant attackers an increased benefit to particular systems or access to limited areas of the network. The attackers might choose not to use malware or any other tools in combination with the legal access which make it difficult to detect their presence.

You can protect yourself by maintaining track of account activity by using security information and event management solutions. Implement a password policy and follow organization network administration plans and strategies to limit the use of favored accounts.

Experts suggest checking domain and local accounts and their benefits to know the one which can allow an attacker to get access to the network.

  1. Exploiting Public-Facing Apps:

It is yet another technique by which cybercriminals get access to our systems.

This technique focus on the use of software, data, or any other commands which takes benefits of a vulnerability in a system or program. The purpose is to cause an unintentional and unexpected behavior.

The vulnerability in the system can be a glitch, bug, or another design vulnerability. All these apps are the websites. However, it might also include databases, standard services, and some other applications with available internet sockets. It includes web servers and some other related services.

Fortunately, the user can prevent it by using firewalls, following safe and secure software development practices, and by performing network separation with DMZ. Also, you can monitor logs and traffic for unusual activities and scan the outer network limits for vulnerabilities to prevent cybercriminals from attacking you.

  1. Removable Media:

It is a technique which often leads to the implementation of rascal code through the auto-run feature.

To trick and mislead the user, the attacker might rename or modify the legal file before time and then copy it to a removable drive. Therefore, the malware can get inserted in the firmware of removable media or can get hanged by the primary formatting tool.

You can only use antivirus software, deactivate the autorun feature, and can limit the use of removable media to protect yourself from cyber-attacks.

  1. Physical Access:

It is another basic technique to get access to your system. If an attacker gains physical access to your system, then the game is almost over. No matter how strong your password is, how best antivirus software you are using it won’t make any difference.

For this purpose, organizations attempt to keep their most confidential information and devices saved securely.

The only way to protect your data and system is to keep your system under lock and key and also use some real 2FA accounts just like YubiKey.

  1. Social Engineering:

Social engineering is the practice of manipulating people so; they can provide their confidential information. The information attacker is seeking can vary. However, when attackers target, they are typically trying to fool others. They do so, to get passwords, bank details, or access to your system to install malicious software. This way, hackers will not only access your passwords, bank details but also can have control over your system.

When an attacker is successful in getting a person’s email password so, they get access to their contact list too. Since in an organization, all employees use the same password so they can have access to that person’s social networking contacts also.

As soon as the attackers got email account under their account so, they send emails to all contacts and sometimes leave messages too.

To protect yourself all you need is to set your spam filters, secure your computing devices, and delete any request for financial details or passwords.

  1. Spear Phishing:

It is the practice of sending fraudulent and fake emails from anyone who seems to look like a reliable and trusted sender in your cooperation.

Spear phishing is same like phishing, but the only difference is that it targets users who have specific access to the information attacker is looking for. It includes users belonging to accounting worker, IT experts, or administrators.

Such emails might look legal and authentic. The emails contain messages with the purpose of grabbing private and confidential information. It can be a link you might follow to change your password. Or even request for confidential worker data or a downloadable attachment. No matter in what form does the message comes, if you follow the email both your system and corporation is at high risk.

You need to keep your system updated, encrypt all the private firm’s information, use DMARC technology, and implement multi-factor authentication wherever possible,  to protect your system. Moreover, the most important preventive measure is to educate the employees about it and test their knowledge on a regular basis.

Final Thoughts:

The cybercriminals are always looking for ways to get access to your system. For this purpose, they adopt several different ways as mentioned above to get into the target’s network and carry out malicious activities.

All these tactics are carried out in such a way that they can easily fool the other person. However, if you are well informed about these techniques and knows how to avoid them so, it is quite easy to stay secured and protected.

By following the tips mentioned above, you can surely prevent cybercriminals from getting access to your system.

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