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Capital Technology Group has been serving the Arkansas area since 1994, providing IT Support such as technical helpdesk support, computer support, and consulting to small and medium-sized businesses.

How Man-in-the-Middle Attacks Work

How Man-in-the-Middle Attacks Work

Cybersecurity attacks happen when you least expect it, and data is often more susceptible to a cyberattack while it’s moving from one individual to another. This is what is commonly known as a man-in-the-middle attack, or MitM. Essentially, data gets intercepted while it’s in transit—but what can you really do to stop it? Let’s find out.

Explaining a Man-in-the-Middle Attack

Let’s say you are sending a message to one of your friends. Typically, the message would travel from your device to your friend’s. With MitM attacks, a malicious actor will find a way to put themselves somewhere between you and your friend to steal the data in the message. They could even alter the message without either of you knowing.

The Process of Man-in-the-Middle Attacks

Three key players are involved in any MitM attack: you, the hacker, and the data recipient. Here are some ways a MitM attack could be carried out.

  • Data interception: The attacker puts themselves in the communications platform you and the receiver use. They might exploit a vulnerability or trick users into logging into a compromised wireless network.
  • Eavesdropping: Once in the communication stream, an attacker can “eavesdrop” on the conversation and look for valuable data, such as personal messages, login credentials, financial information, and so on.
  • Manipulation: If the attacker wants to cause some serious trouble, they can manipulate data sent across the communication stream. They might inject malicious code, change the contents of the messages, or redirect traffic to a malicious website.

There Are Real-World Implications for These Attacks

Depending on the attacker’s goals, they could engage in malicious activity, such as identity theft, financial fraud, espionage, or data breaches. You never want to deal with an attacker stealing login credentials for any account—especially one that might be tied to your finances or business.

Halting a MitM Attack

You can use preventative action to counteract MitM attacks. Chiefly, you need to combine security measures and security awareness to do so. Here are the ways to stop one of these attacks:

  • Encryption: With end-to-end encryption in place, you can protect data by ensuring it is completely undecipherable by hackers trying to intercept it.
  • Certificate validation: You can also verify the authenticity of digital certificates to keep hackers from impersonating some of your favorite websites and services.
  • Secure connections: A virtual private network, or VPN, can help you with an additional layer of security, encrypting data transmitted over your network.
  • User training: Simply educating your team on the possibilities of hacks can help deter them from falling for the usual tricks, like suspicious links or downloading unknown files.

Capital Technology Group can help your business stay secure in an increasingly dangerous cybersecurity landscape. To learn more, call us at (501) 375-1111.

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