HOW CYBER-CRIMINALS INFILTRATE NETWORKS?
CYBER-CRIMINALS are constantly on the lookout for opportunities to Infiltrate Networks and Compromise Security. Their objective is to either STEAL DATA, ACQUIRE MONEY or INDUCE CHAOS by exploiting vulnerabilities and gaining unauthorized access to networks using a range of Tactics and Tools.
Their first step is RECONNAISSANCE where they gather information to INFILTRATE a NETWORK. This is the process of gathering information about the Target Network, such as:
- JOB ADS – In pursuit of their objectives they may review Job Postings from the target organization to gather information about the Skills, Roles, and Technologies in use.
- TECHNOLOGY IN USE – As part of their strategy, they may inspect the Target Network’s Website, Web Applications, or Devices to determine the sOftware, Hardware, or Operating Systems Employed.
- INFO SOLD ON DARK WEB – To advance their goals, they may Purchase or Trade Data related to the Target Network on the Dark Web, including Passwords, Credentials, or Access Keys.
- EMPLOYEES LISTED on SOCIAL MEDIA PLATFORMS – They Sometimes hit up Social Media Sites like LinkedIn, Facebook, or Twitter to snoop around for info on the employees of the Target Organization. They’re on the hunt for things like Names, Job titles, who they know and what they’re into. Which may assist them in achieving their Objectives.
- CLOUD PLATFORMS – Cyber-criminals may try to access the target network’s cloud services, such as AWS, Azure, or Google Cloud to Gain Access to their Data or Resources.
- PUBLIC DNS RECORDS -These Cyber-criminals may look up the target network’s Domain Name System (DNS) records to find out their public IP Addresses, Subdomains, or Email Servers.
- WI-FI INFORMATION –They might also try to connect to the target network’s Wireless Network or intercept its Wireless Traffic to Capture Data or Credentials.
The second step that Cyber-criminals take to Infiltrate a Network is SCANNING. This is the process of Probing the Target Network for Vulnerabilities or Weaknesses that can be exploited. Some of the Scannning Techniques that Cyber-criminals Use are:
- SCAN PUBLIC IP ADDRESSES –These individuals may examine the Target Network’s Public IP addresses to determine which Ports are Accessible including the Active Services or the Communication Protocols in use.
- SCAN WEBSITES and WEB PORTALS – Cyber-criminals may Scan the Target Network’s Websites and Web Portals to find out what Web Servers are used, what Web Applications are installed, or what Web Vulnerabilities are present.
- VULNERABILITY SCANNING – By Utilizing Automated Tools or Scripts they could Conduct Scans Across the Target Network in search of well-known vulnerabilities, like Outdated Software, Improperly Configured Settings, or Default Passwords.
- NETWORK MAPPING –Using different Tools and Techniques, they’ll try to Draw a Map of the Target Network’s Layout and how everything is Connected, how data moves within it. This helps them get the network’s structure and data flow patterns.
The Third Step that Cyber-criminals take to Infiltrate a Network is GAINING ACCESS. This is the process of Exploiting the Vulnerabilities or Weaknesses found in the Scanning phase to gain Unauthorized Access to the Target Network’s Data or Resources. Some of the ways that they Gain Access to a network are:
- EMAIL –They deceive employees or users within the Target Network, they might send Phishing Emails. Their goal is to get people to click on Harmful Links, open infected attachments, or give away their login info. This could result in Malware Infections, Data Theft, Or Compromised Accounts.
- UNPATCHED or MISCONFIGURED FIREWALL – These individuals may take advantage of Firewall Rules that haven’t been updated or Set Up Incorrectly. This allows them to sneak past the Network’s Security and reach the Internal Systems.
- INSECURE WIRELESS – By Exploiting Weak Wireless Encryption Methods like WEP or WPA2-PSK, they could crack the Network’s Wi-Fi Password and Gain Entry to the Wireless Network.
- USB DRIVES –Cyber-criminals might use USB-Drives loaded with Malicious Codes to Infect the Network’s Devices when these drives are pluggedin. This can give them control over the systems, allowing them to Run Commands, Steal Data, or Spread Malware.
- OTHER WAYS –They could use different Methods to Gain Access to Network, such as Attempting to Guess Passwords, Exploiting Undisclosed Vulnerabilities, Impersonating Authorized Users, or Compromising Third-party Suppliers.
The Fourth Step that Cyber-criminals take to Infiltrate a Network is MAINTAINING ACCESS. This is the process of ensuring that they can stay on the target network for as long as possible and Avoid Detection or Removal. Some of the ways that Cyber-criminals Maintain Access to a Network are:
- SET UP ADMIN ACCOUNTS – Cyber-criminals may create New Admin Accounts on the Target Network’s Devices or systems togain Full Control and Privileges over them.
- SET UP FIREWALL RULES – They may modify Existing Firewall Rules or create new ones on the Target Network’s Firewall to enable their Traffic in or out of the Network.
- SET UP CLOUD ACCOUNTS – These Cyber-criminals could Generate New Cloud Accounts on the Target Network’s Cloud Services to access their Data or Resources.
- CHANGE ACCESS FOR EXISTING USERS –They may change the Access Rights or Permissions of existing users on the target network to grant them more or less access to Data or Resources.
- OTHER WAYS –They might also use other Techniques to Maintain Access to a Network, such as Installing Backdoors, Hiding Malware, Deleting Logs, or Encrypting Data.