The internet connects people from every corner of the globe. You can send a message to your friend or buy an item half the world away.
But this open nature of the internet also makes its infrastructure vulnerable to many snooping attacks, such as man-in-the-middle methods. Cybercriminals often rely on them to steal sensitive information and commit fraud.
Read on to find out how these attacks work and what you can do to secure your communications.
What Are Man-in-the-Middle Attacks?
In a man-in-the-middle (MITM) attack, the perpetrator eavesdrops on the communication between two parties without their knowledge.
The flow of information seems to be authentic and uninterrupted. But under the hood, it might have been intercepted and altered in transit. The purpose of the attacker is to make you believe the communication is secure. But they actually sit in the middle (hence the name), snooping and even changing the data you receive.
Why Are Man-in-the-Middle Attacks Dangerous?
Man-in-the-middle attacks are a serious security threat because of the huge amount of sensitive information going through the internet every day. They enable malicious actors to steal and modify it secretly.
The attacker can decrypt the internet connection of your computer and obtain the emails you send through it. Personal information like credit card numbers and login credentials are other common targets.
In addition to individuals, organizations and businesses should also pay attention to this common hacking method.
Attackers can use it to sneak into and gain a foothold in computer systems. From this entry point, they can launch wider attacks on the whole system. A successful campaign may steal intellectual property (IP), customer data, and other assets saved on the system.
How To Prevent Man-in-the-Middle Attacks
It can be hard to detect compromised communications. They can leave no trace until you lose your accounts or money as a result.
The best defense you can have against these attacks is mitigation. Here are some steps you can take to protect your connections, your devices, and your sensitive data.
Use Applications That Support End-to-End Encryptions
End-to-end encryption (E2EE) makes sure that no third party should be able to decrypt the data. Only the sender and intended receiver can read and verify that the connection hasn’t been tampered with.
You may have run into this security solution more times than you might think.
Most websites and browsers support HTTPS, which uses this encryption to ensure secure connections between you and the server. Always look at the address bar of your browser and check if it has a lock icon. Your browser uses this indication to show that your connection to the website is secure.
Email and instant messaging can also benefit from this protection. Opt for applications with E2EE if you want to boost the safety of your communications. When properly implemented, even the provider can’t read the contents of the emails and chat messages on their servers.
Avoid Unsecured Networks
Public Wi-Fi networks and hotspots are a goldmine for hackers. They can trick people into using fake Wi-Fi with which they can see everything sent through it.
If you can’t avoid those unsecured networks, consider using a VPN service. It will encrypt your internet connections regardless of the local networks you are using.
VPNs also provide another layer of protection when you aren’t in a public place too. It shields your communications from any curious eyes snooping on them. For this privacy benefit alone, VPNs can be worth the money you pay for them.
Be Wary Of Phishing Attempts
Social engineering methods like phishing emails can allow hackers to carry out other attacks, including MITM. When you click a link in a fraudulent email or website, malicious software may end up on your device.
This popular scenario is how many man-in-the-browser attacks (a form of MITM) happen. The malware is attached to your browser and forwards the data sent between you and targeted websites to the hacker.
Update Your Devices
Many cyberattacks are possible due to the popularity of outdated applications. They typically contain several known bugs hackers can exploit to intercept your internet connection.
Keep your system up-to-date and install important security patches as soon as you are aware of them. Anti-malware and other security programs can also lend you a hand with detecting malicious programs and phishing attacks.
Use Locker To Protect Yourself Against Man-in-the-Middle Attacks
Password managers like Locker seem to be irrelevant in this context. But they can minimize the fallout of successful man-in-the-middle attacks and even stop them from happening in the first place.
The Autofill feature of Locker can give you a hint when you open a fake address.
Designed to fill in login details for you, it only works on authentic apps and websites. When there is no autofill prompt on a familiar website, there is a high chance it doesn’t come from the real provider.
Locker also helps you enable multi-factor authentication (MFA). Even when the attacker gets their hands on your login credentials, MFA requires them to bypass another security challenge. These factors aren’t available without Locker, and the hacker will be locked out of your accounts still.
The domino effect occurs when a stolen password can make various accounts vulnerable. This shouldn’t be the case with Locker, even when you are the victim of a man-in-the-middle attack.
At the heart of Locker is the ability to generate and save unique passwords. The hacker won’t be able to reuse any of them to log into other accounts.