Man-in-the-Middle Attacks: Do it Yourself or Bring in IBM

Man-in-the-middle attacks alone aren't as common as ransomware or phishing attacks, but they are still serious old and ever-present threats for businesses and individuals. Nowadays, a man-in-the-middle attack can be used as an additional technique for more widespread or complicated attacks with malware installed in the targeted system. Or what is rather often, modern MITM attacks involve phishing.

What Is a Man-in-the-Middle Attack?

Man-in-the-middle, abbreviated as MITM or MitM, attack is a kind of a cyber attack with three participating parties: two of them are ignorant of the attack - victims - and one is the "man in the middle" - criminal. The two victims can be both users, users and an app or website, users and a server. In the last two cases, when one party isn't a human, the man-in-the-middle attack still has the same idea: the criminal destroys the original two-party connection, penetrates as an unknown third-party in a newly established connection. 

During the attack, a criminal can secretly eavesdrop, intercept, relay, and alter communications between the two parties who believe they are interacting with each other.

Man-in-the-Middle Attack Detection

Detecting individual or corporate MitM attacks is difficult, and in many cases, if you succeed, it's already too late. Except for constant deliberate MitM checks, you won't probably find rather unnoticeable traces of man-in-the-middle attacks. Taking precautionary cyber security measures and adopting effective practices to prevent MITM attacks before they occur is much more important than attempting to detect them.

However, successful detection can be held by experienced cyber security professionals such as MBS Tech, applying digital forensics skills and utilizing proper cyber security services and solutions.

Man-in-the-Middle Attack Procedure

Overall MitM procedure consists of two phases: interception and decryption.

The most common way for interception (mainly, accessing a victim's traffic) is a malicious public Wi-Fi hotspot. Other techniques are IP, ARP, or DNS spoofing.

After a successful interception, here comes the turn of the second phase - decryption. Cybercriminals can use such methods: HTTPS spoofing, SSL BEAST (browser exploit against SSL/TLS), SSL hijacking, and SSL stripping.

Goals of Man-in-the-Middle Attacks

As with other cybercrime and attacks, everything is about financial or other kinds of gain. Possible purposes of MitM attacks include:

  • stealing login and other credentials, credit card numbers, account details or other personal information;
  • redirecting funds, resources, attention;
  • espionage after individuals, groups, organizations, etc.;
  • sabotage;
  • data corruption;
  • identity theft.

Best Practices to Prevent MitM Attack

Speaking about cyber attacks with a man in the middle, the best strategy of fighting it is based on prevention and cyber security cautiousness. Try to fulfil MBS Tech's recommendation, including utilizing experts' help when it's needed as well:

  • Use SSL/TLS encryption.
  • Always make sure you follow safer HTTPS - S is crucial here - URLs. To simplify it, utilize special browser plugins to set HTTPS use only.
  • Avoid Wi-Fi connections that aren’t password protected - especially while conducting sensitive transactions.
  • Configure your Wi-Fi router(s) settings correctly to maintain the confidentiality and security of your network.
  • Use a safe VPN for public Internet connections.
  • Enhance authentication measures.
  • Fortify your devices with up-to-date, efficient security tools.
  • Avoid websites reported as being unsecured.
  • Log out of any application or website when you finish.
  • Read about common cyber security threats and schemes.
  • Keep your cyber security system up to date.
  • Reach out to cyber security specialists in MBS Tech with top tier cyber security solutions.

Do you find all these measures a bit too involved and complicated? Do you have resources to manage it on your own? If you are not so much confident in your capacity to fulfill the task, contact MBS Tech to lear how IBM QRadar and Cloud Security solutions can work for you to keep your business safe and secure.  

With an ever-growing online presence and cybercriminals' opportunities, every individual and business must think of cyber security more than ever. MitM attacks are just an example of the enormous variety of tricks criminals have. Meanwhile, the most hopeful thing is that you're able to fight back most of them with proper cyber security measures.

Stay tuned and keep cyber safe with us.



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