What is an Eavesdropping attack?
Eavesdropping attack also referred to as snooping or sniffing attack occurs when an unauthorized party modifies, steals, or deletes critical data transmitted between two digital equipment.
Here is one model of this;
A remote staff member links over an open network and gives his colleague some critical business knowledge. The data is transferred over the open network, and all the information on network traffic is secretly intruded by the cyber attackers. Now the employee can opt to communicate via a Virtual Private Network, which is comparatively safer than an open network, to avoid an Eavesdropping attack.But again this is not really a fool-proof method for combating eavesdropping attack (particularly when you don’t know how safe the VPN is); the hacker puts a piece of network or software sniffers in the system paths that will monitor, record and collect all the important information of the business.
As Tom King, 3i’s apps and security manager writes- Eavesdropping threats are dangerous and it’s hard to realize they are happening. Upon connecting to a network, users can inadvertently feed confidential material to an attacker —account numbers, passwords,e-mail content, and surfing habits.
Now let’s explore the various scenarios attackers are leveraging for a malicious Eavesdropping attack.
Weak Passwords: You leave the door wide open to a confidential communication channel by using poor passwords that can be quickly cracked. If the attacker has your password, he can comfortably access the network which exchanges valuable business information.
Remote work: employees who work in the corporate office comply with the safety standards and are linked to a secure system. Remote employees can, however, connect their devices to an insecure or weak or network that might be prone to aneavesdropping assault.
Frail networks: linking to public networks that don’t even need authentication for entry and transmit data without encryption is a perfect scenario for an attacker to try out an eavesdropping attack.
That is now you understand how an eavesdropping assault basically works, you can ask.
Methods of Eavesdropping
Attackers are constantly developing new ways of eavesdropping digital conversations. With the help of protocol analyzers, voice-over – IP calls made utilizing IP-based connectivity are recorded. The details can be translated into audio files that the hacker can analyze.
Sniffing the data is another popular method of eavesdropping. This approach works well with local networks that use a HUB. Since all connection within the channel is being sent to each of the network’s ports, all that a sniffer would have to do is like to receive every bit of data collected, even though they’re not the main users. Wireless communication data can be exploited in a similar manner as it transmits unprotected information to all networks that are connected.
The basic act of listening to two men talking in the actual world using microphones and recorders will also contribute to the obtaining of confidential knowledge, taking a step back from digital crime. Telephones can be tapped into by flipping on the speaker button of the system remotely. The same can be said with computers, where microphones are discreetly turned on to listen in to the user.
The impact of the Eavesdropping attack
Here’s a real-life Eavesdropping assault example-
We’ve always been fascinated by the rise of digital assistants like Google Home and Amazon Alexa making our lives easier. However, cyber attackers had eavesdropped on the users of Google Home and Amazon Alexa.
First, the assailants created friendly software and then Google and Amazon checked them. When checked, the applications have been converted into a malicious one.The app prompted a “goodbye” in reply to a “stop” proceeded by a long pause, causing users to assume that the device is fully locked, users have been scrutinized during the ‘long pause,’ collecting and transmitting sensitive and critical information to the hackers.
Now, Google Home and Amazon Alexa are commonly used for greater profitability and operating performance by companies around the globe. However, if the business falls victim to an eavesdropping attack as stated shown in this scenario, it might suffer the one or more of the following consequences-
Loss of privacy: Any company has sensitive information which, once it becomes public, could lead the organization astray. The attackers would collect sensitive customer knowledge, thoughts, and conversations that are shared within the company, thereby compromising their privacy
Identity theft: Think, two staff chat about their connections to sensitive devices. First of them says, “my password to XYZ program was being updated from abdcde to 1234” now, the thief who was eavesdropping on their discussion has simple access to their credentials; can easily open the program and steal all the valuable stuff.
Financial loss: If the cyber attacker gets critical business records, important databases, or passwords for important corporate programs, it can be exploited to the full extent by disclosing the information or selling it to the competitors; the attackers can gain, and the company can lose in millions.
Undeniably, eavesdropping attempts would have significant repercussions for the company let’s discuss an important question.
How to prevent the attacks of Eavesdropping?
Military-grade encryption:An eavesdropping attack is a great way to defend. If an attacker tries to interact with a conversation, he can only be successful if he could read the exchanged data. The attacker can collect the data via eavesdropping by using 256-bit encryption, also known as military-grade encryption, but the information will still be secure because it will take him approximately five hundred billion years to decode it.
Spread awareness: It is of utmost importance to educate and teach the organization’s staff about information security. A staff member who is unconscious of cybercrimes like the attacks of eavesdropping may unknowingly risk the business. So, before he/she accesses an application, software, or connects over a weak channel, the staff member should have a full understanding of eavesdrop attacks.
Network segmentation: It is best to break the computing network to allow only certain employees or key staff to link to the network; the finance department does not need to use the HR system, for example. Dividing or segmenting the network helps reduce congestion network traffic, increases protection, and avoids unintended access.
Microsoft security engineer training is also very helpful to prevent the attacks of Eavesdropping.