Threat : Domain Name System Hijacking
Many remote workers rely on public WIFI to get business donebut security is a huge issue on these open networks when using a VPN solution, in particular through the possibility of DNS hijacking. In this type of attack, perpetrators infiltrate the Domain Name System and reroute victims away from the site they wanted, directing them into a malicious site instead. If a hacker gets his or her hooks into the DNS, this can cause ongoing trouble as the hacker directs users to pages with ads or malware. SDPs, on the other hand, are structured as Network-as-a-Service to prevent DNS hijackers from having their way.
Being Anonymous Online Evading Censorship And Hiding Online Activity From Ones National Government
Consider someone who wishes to evade censorship imposed by their national government. They also wish to obscure their online activity from their ISP and national government. And they wish to hide their location and identity from websites that they access, and from their correspondents. That is, they want both privacy and anonymity. They want anonymity in the sense of remaining unassociated with their online activity, and they want that anonymity to survive efforts by their national government to associate them and it. Furthermore, they are subject to overt censorship, and the use of strong encryption is regulated, so they must also avoid association with illicit communications. However, they have not been specifically targeted for investigation. They are concerned that the consequences of discovery might be severe. And they are also concerned about threats from other adversaries, including governments, that might share information with their national government. But they are not concerned about threats from other neutral or non-cooperating adversaries.
It would be prudent for such users to tunnel traffic through multiple anonymity systems. It would arguably be best to start with Tor, using the strongest obfsproxy plugin available, and connecting anonymously through public Wi-Fi hotspots. Users could then, for example, tunnel JonDonym through Tor, and then tunnel a VPN service through JonDonym. Full-disk encryption with an instant-wipe hotkey would provide a final backup.
How Does A VPN Protect You From Hacking
A VPN works on two basic levels:
Some VPN providers offer even further levels of protection, but this is the general idea. Since gaining access to your devices IP address is one of the most common methods of hacking, disguising it from hackers is a great way to protect yourself.
Further, channeling all of your internet traffic through an encrypted tunnel helps keep your information safe even if your system is compromised.
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How Worried Should I Be About Man
If you havent downloaded any unknown programs onto your system or you are only visiting secure, well-known websites, then you probably dont have to worry that much about a man-in-the-middle attack.
Modern day web encryption tools are able to significantly reduce the risk of MITM attacks. TLS and SSL are the two predominant encryption protocols used to certify that authentic communication is happening between a user and their intended host.
If you are visiting a secured website that uses HTTPS, that means the site is communicating with your device using TLS or SSL encryption. TLS and SSL both encrypt your data before it leaves your device, so that only the server youre trying to communicate with can decrypt your data.
The keys to decrypting HTTPS traffic are exchanged between your device and the host whenever you access a site through a process known as a secure handshake. During the handshake, the host shares a digital certificate with your device that certifies the encryption keys provided are genuine. This prevents a man-in-the-middle from intercepting the handshake and providing a false set of security keys.
There are 5 companies that issue around 98% of the digital certificates in the world, and there have only been a few high-profile instances of certificate authorities issuing false certificates.
How Does Using A VPN Protect Me
When your computer, phone, or other device connects to the internet, a VPN redirects your traffic, hiding where your computer, phone, or other device is when it connects to websites. It also encrypts data you transmit over the internet, rendering it unintelligible to anybody who intercepts it. Your internet service provider is included in this.
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What Is Ssl Stripping
SSL Stripping or an SSL Downgrade Attack is an attack used to circumvent the security enforced by SSL certificates on HTTPS-enabled websites.
In layman’s terms, when you go to website your browser connects to the insecure site and then is generally redirected to the secure site .
If the website is available without encryption, an attacker can intercept your packets and force an HTTP connection that could expose login credentials or other sensitive information to the attacker.
The risk of this type of attack is reduced as more websites use HTTP Strict Transport Security which means the server refuses to connect over an insecure connection.
Keep Your Systems And Programs Up To Date
Hackers are constantly figuring out new ways to attempt MITM attacks and software developers often update programs and systems to combat this. Make sure you are diligent about keeping your systems and programs up to date.
Simply check your systems for updates and dont postpone them. This includes updates on your web browser, your devices, and any apps on your computers and smartphones. These updates ensure that youre getting all the latest security patches and fixes to keep out attackers.
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So Does A VPN Protect You From Hackers
The answer isnt so simple since a VPN cant protect you from every single type of cyber attack. But you should still definitely use one on public WiFi and even on your home network when handling sensitive stuff like online banking.
Okay got it, but does a VPN prevent hacking or not? Thats all I want to know man.
The best way to answer that question is to take a quick look at what VPNs can and cant do to keep you safe:
Does VPN Protect Against Man In The Middle Attacks
The VPN can close down most of the spaces that could be attacked by MiTM, even if a MiTM attack isnt entirely successful. Your traffic between your device and your VPN gateway will be protected, so that your ISP will not be able to launch a MiTM attack against you personally.
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How To Prevent Man
The threat of MITM attacks might make you reluctant to use public Wi-Fi. Thats not the worst advice in the world at least if you intend on doing anything that could expose sensitive information, such as logging in to your work email account or online bank account.
In these circumstances, it would be preferable to use your mobile data. If you still want to use your laptop, you can use your phone as a wireless hotspot.
However, you must apply appropriate security controls when doing this so that only you can connect to the network.
If mobile data isnt an option, here are some other steps you can take to protect yourself while using public Wi-Fi:
- Use a VPN
There are many cyber security benefits of using a VPN , such as the fact that it masks your IP address by bouncing it through a private server.
VPNs also encrypt the data as its being transmitted over the Internet. This doesnt make you impenetrable to MITM attacks, but it makes life much harder for crooks and will likely cause them to look for an easier target.
- Only visit HTTPS websites
As with VPNs, HTTPS websites encrypt data and prevent attackers from intercepting communications.
Although its possible for criminals to circumvent these protections with HTTPS spoofing or SSL stripping, you can thwart their attempts with a bit of legwork.
For example, you can avoid HTTPS spoofing by manually typing the web address instead of relying on links.
- Watch out for phishing scams
Use A Browser That Supports Http Strict Transport Security
HTTPS is a very good step towards preventing MitM attacks on the web, but there is a potential weakness there as well. In order for a website owner to force visitors to use HTTPS, there are two options. The first is to simply shut down the unencrypted HTTP port 80 altogether. This means that people attempting to reach the site using http:// will get nothing and the site will just time out. Most website owners dont want their visitors to have this negative experience so instead they leave port 80 open, but only use it to send an HTTP 301 redirect code telling browsers to go https://.
In practice, this works well, but there is an opportunity for an attacker to execute a Downgrade Attack during that redirect. A downgrade attack can force a web server to use weaker cryptographic ciphers which makes a subsequent MitM attack easier. Websites that employ HSTS send headers to the browser during the very first connect that direct the browser to use HTTPS. The browser then disconnects the existing session, and reconnects using HTTPS. While this may seem like a small difference, it greatly lessens the attack vector of the standard HTTP to HTTPS redirect. Almost all modern browsers support HSTS but there are a lot of browsers on the market, so it pays to confirm that your specific browser supports it.
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Do Free VPNs Stop Hackers
Usually, no. Many free VPNs lack essential security features that protect you from hackers, like strong encryption or a no-logs policy.
That said, if you insist on using a free VPN, try Atlas VPNs free plan because it provides strong security features. We still recommend upgrading to the providers paid plan, as it gives you access to even better security features.
What Attacks Can A VPN Prevent
VPNs are likely to detect and prevent DDoS attacks generally. The IP address that is hidden prevents DDoS attacks from finding your networked device, so your network can not be tracked. Additionally, VPNs encrypt web traffic, sending traffic through a tunnel to your network, thus making it impossible for your ISP to see any activity on your computer.
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What Does A VPN Not Protect You From
While using a VPN protects you from a lot of common hacking tactics, it does not protect you from all of them.
You could, for example, download an infected file and allow a hacker into your system.
Or, you could accidentally open a bad link from a spam email, and get infected that way.
What this means is, even if you use a VPN, you still need to take security measures to protect yourself from a hack.
Here are some of our top tips on how to do that:
- Keep your operating system updated. No one likes bothering with those pesky OS updates, but heres the thing: operating system upgrades come with defenses against cutting-edge viruses and malware.
- Use an antivirus. A good antivirus can protect you from some of the most common viruses, should you infect your system. Wed recommend using VIPRE, award-winning antivirus for both home computers and businesses.
- When using public Wi-Fi, connect to a VPN. As weve just explained, you want to use a VPN on public Wi-Fi to avoid hacking attacks like MITM.
- Avoid questionable websites or emails. Chances are, those shady websites or spammy emails contain a virus or two.
- Dont give out your username/password to anyone.
- Dont give out your security question answers. If someone on the internet asks you seemingly harmless questions like whats your pets name or what was the first school you went to, dont answer them unless you know who they are. Chances are, theyre fishing for the answers to your security questions.
How Else To Protect Yourself From Cyber Attacks
Here are other ways to protect your data from hackers:
- Use an antivirus you need to use the antivirus alongside the VPN, so that your device is protected from malware infections.
- Update your software always install the latest updates, as hackers can compromise outdated apps.
- Secure your router change the default username and password. Cybercriminals can find that information online and use it to access your router.
- Keep your social media private dont post personal information on your social media accounts. For example, dont make your phone number or email address public.
- Use strong passwords create long, complex passwords and make sure you use a different password for each account. If you need help keeping track of all passwords, just use a password manager.
- Use two-factor authentication 2FA adds another step to the login process to verify your identity. For example, in addition to entering your username and password, you need to enter a code thats randomly generated on your phone.
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Implement A Certificate Management System
An automated certificate management system is perhaps one of the best ways to prevent an MITM attack. A certificate management system monitors and maintains the lifecycle of all digital x.509 certificates within the system.
Enterprise networks can host thousands of certificates, and manual monitoring is susceptible to human error. An automated system discovers all certificates hosted in the system and provides an intuitive way of accessing them all. It analyzes active certificates and sends alerts when they are near expiry. It also takes care of remediation or revocation.
How Do Attacks Intercept Your Data
Attacks are most likely to occur on public Wi-Fi because Internet connections are generally less secure than home routers.
Thats not so much a security weakness as it is part of its design. Public Wi-Fi is intended for anyone in the vicinity to use. Naturally, it will be less secure than your home or office network, which contains protections that ensure only authorised people can connect.
But how do criminals get in the middle? The first step is to compromise the Internet router, which they can do with tools that scan for unpatched flaws or other vulnerabilities.
Next, they intercept and decrypt the victims transmitted data using a variety of techniques.
A basic method is sniffing, in which attackers deploy tools that inspect packets units of data that are transferred over a network. These can be used to intercept unencrypted information, such as passwords and usernames.
Attackers might also perform packet injection, in which malicious packets are inserted into data communication streams to disrupt victims ability to use certain network services or protocols.
A similar version of this attack is session hijacking . The criminal sniffs sensitive traffic to identify the victims session token.
With that information, the attacker uses source-routed IP packets to intercept data as its being transferred from the victims computer to the server and make requests as though they were the user.
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How Does Https Prevent Man In The Middle Attacks
In this case, will G be able to get the certificate which A previously got from W?
Yes, the certificate is the public key with the label. The webserver will send it to anyone who connects to it.
If G can get the certificate, does that mean that G will be able to decrypt the data?
No. The certificate contains the public key of the webserver. The malicious proxy is not in the possession of the matching private key. So if the proxy forwards the real certificate to the client, it cannot decrypt information the client sends to the webserver.
The proxy server may try to forge the certificate and provide his own public key instead. This will, however, destroy the signature of the certification authorities. The browser will warn about the invalid certificate.
Unexpected Or Repeated Disconnections
Attackers forcibly disconnect users so they can grab the username and password when the user reconnects. Moreover, when sites seem to load longer than usual, it could be a sign you are redirected via DNS spoofing.
Try to monitor unexpected or repeated disconnections so that you can spot this potential risk.
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Ways To Prevent A Man
by Robert Izquierdo | Published on May 18, 2022
If youve ever used public Wi-Fi, say at a coffee shop, airport, or library, youre vulnerable to a form of cyber threat called the man-in-the-middle attack .
The MITM attack is nefarious because its difficult to detect, and it gives a cybercriminal complete access to view your internet activities, including your emails.
For this reason, adopt the best endpoint security software to protect your computing devices. Read on to learn more about dealing with MITM attacks.
Final Words On Man In The Middle Attack Prevention
A man in the middle attack is not only a type of cyber attack but also a method used by cyber criminals to launch other types of attacks. Throughout this article series, weve explored several key areas to know about MitM attacks:
- What a man in the middle attack is,
- The different types of man in the middle attacks, and
- How to detect and prevent man in the middle attacks.
With the rise in incidences of this type of attack, its clear that we have to invest more time and effort to keep them in check and the more you know, the safer you and your business will be. We hope you found this article on man in the middle attack prevention useful.
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A VPN Could Stop Mitm Attacks
A MITM attack is when a hacker positions himself between you and the web server or person youre trying to communicate with over the Internet.
There are many types of MITM attacks , so lets focus on the one VPNs can protect against: WiFi eavesdropping.
Thats when cybercriminals abuse weak encryption standards with packet sniffers to intercept your data packets. They then try to decrypt them to steal sensitive information like credit card numbers or login credentials.
A shady person sitting in a coffee shop and intercepting your online communications sounds like a cliche hacker movie. But its more likely to happen than you think. Most WiFi networks use WPA2, and that security standard is vulnerable to cyber attacks. Sadly, not even WPA3 is completely foolproof.
So if a cybercriminal plays their cards right, they can run a successful MITM attack against you over a coffee shops public network or even your home WiFi. They could monitor your traffic or redirect you to malicious websites.
Pretty scary stuff. So does a VPN protect you from hackers in this situation?
Yes, pretty much. The service encrypts all your traffic, effectively preventing any hacker from monitoring it. Heres how that helps: