Securing Your Digital Life: Addressing Cyber Security Vulnerabilities
By Tom Seest
At BestCybersecurityNews, we help entrepreneurs, solopreneurs, young learners, and seniors learn more about cybersecurity.
Cybersecurity vulnerabilities are a grave danger that affects companies around the globe. They allow malicious actors to gain unauthorized access, execute code, install malware, and even cause data breaches.
Identification of cybersecurity threats is paramount for protecting your company and its stakeholders from cybersecurity hazards. Here are the most common security flaws that cybercriminals can use to cause irreparable harm and damage to your business.
Table Of Contents
SQL Injection is a cyber security flaw that enables malicious actors to gain unauthorized access to websites and web applications’ databases. This is accomplished by injecting malicious code into queries that retrieve and store data in databases.
Additionally, database access grants attackers access to sensitive information and passwords stored there. This poses a danger for an organization as it could lead to identity theft or financial loss.
SQL injection allows hackers to gain access to databases containing customer names, addresses, credit card info, and email accounts. Not only does this result in financial losses for the victim, but it may also tarnish their reputations.
There are various types of SQL injection attacks, including classic (in-band) and out-of-band attacks.
In-band SQL injections occur when a web application takes input from a user and incorporates it into a database query without any errors being displayed on the server. In such cases, automated web application security scanners would likely miss this attack.
Furthermore, time-based SQL injection is an attack wherein a web application submits a query to a database and waits a certain number of seconds before responding. This allows attackers to determine whether the query is true or false based on how long the database takes to respond.
Another type of SQL injection is blind SQL injection, which does not show any error message on the server and thus requires more skill to exploit. Although this type of attack is harder to execute, it still has the potential to extract data from databases.
Out-of-band SQL injections can be divided into two categories: first-order and second-order. In a first-order SQL injection, an application takes user input from a web request and inserts it into an unsafe query, saving it for future use. However, another part of the application that does not have any safeguards against SQL injection executes this stored command without permission.
XSS (Cyber Exploitation System) is a widely-used cyber security flaw. It involves the injection of malicious code into websites and web applications that require user input, such as search engines, login forms, message boards, and comment boxes.
To minimize cross-site scripting (XSS) attacks, it is essential to validate form inputs and clean data before it is displayed to users. Validation rules should restrict what information can be entered into a form, as well as reject any HTML or tags commonly used for cross-site scripting attacks.
Another way to protect against XSS attacks is by creating safe cookies. These are cookies linked directly to an IP address and will help prevent the exploit of an XSS attack.
A DOM-based XSS vulnerability occurs when an attacker injects a script tag into the Document Object Model (DOM) of a web page, causing it to be executed by the browser. This gives them access to cookies, session tokens, and other sensitive information stored within the browser’s memory.
Sectors most susceptible to XSS attacks include hospitality and entertainment, finance, education, and science, as well as transportation. Other vulnerable industries include government and IT.
XSS, though relatively obscure on the CVE list, remains one of the most widespread and dangerous cyber security risks. To safeguard against XSS attacks, it’s essential to regularly review web applications for potential anomalies or security holes.
CSRF (also referred to as session riding) is a vulnerability in web applications that takes advantage of trust between them and users. It uses social engineering techniques to trick an authenticated or logged-in user into sending an unauthorized request to a website controlled by the attacker.
A Cross-Site Request Forgery (CSRF) attack can pose a number of security risks, such as client or server data leakage, altered session state, and account manipulation. Businesses and users with administrator-level access to web applications should especially be concerned by this potential vulnerability.
Although CSRF attacks are not as common as other cyber security vulnerabilities, they remain a serious risk because many people rely on their browsers for critical tasks like logging into websites or running home and office computers. A malicious third party could exploit this vulnerability to obtain access to sensitive information and make money.
The most reliable way to protect against CSRF attacks is using a CSRF token, which is a secure random string shared between the browser and the application. Ideally, this token should be unique per user session and large enough so that attackers have difficulty guessing its identity.
When a legitimate user submits an inquiry to a website, the site is obliged to validate whether their request is valid or not. This is done through various tests based on various parameters or values.
Cross-site scripting (XSS), unlike cross-site request forgery (CSRF), uses different techniques to manipulate user input into sending an unauthorized request. For instance, malicious websites can utilize forged image tags or hidden forms to send out a POST request with altered parameters and values without user interaction.
Remote code execution (RCE) is a type of cyber security vulnerability that permits hackers to remotely execute malicious code on a device. These attacks can be used for various purposes, such as accessing and stealing data, installing malware, altering settings, and even launching denial-of-service attacks.
RCE attacks typically take place when there is a software or internal flaw that allows attackers to inject and run remote code on vulnerable devices. Furthermore, social engineering techniques may be employed by malicious individuals in an effort to manipulate users into executing harmful programs on their machines.
The primary motivations for RCE cyberattacks are espionage, personal ill will, or financial gain. Examples of RCE cyberattacks include the Equifax breach in 2017 and the Bangladesh Bank hack in 2016.
Though these vulnerabilities are relatively common, they can be challenging to prevent due to attackers consistently finding new ways of exploiting them. That is why it is so important to stay up to date with security patches and update software regularly.
One common method of performing RCE is exploiting a memory allocation or buffer overflow vulnerability. This involves altering memory that should not be accessible to the user, giving attackers access to the machine’s address space.
Other techniques for RCE involve injecting malicious code into an application’s source code, either through an injection attack or through the use of a deserialization program.
One of the best ways to minimize your vulnerability to vulnerabilities is by performing regular penetration testing. This helps identify flaws and allows you to take action before hackers do. Furthermore, it gives you a chance to implement security measures that guard against malicious code and keep your network secure.
Denial of Service (DoS) is a widespread cyber security vulnerability that impacts internet-facing systems and services. DoS attacks aim to disrupt websites and web applications, often by malicious attackers seeking financial gain or revenge.
Attackers can utilize various attack techniques to overload web services with a large number of requests, potentially leading to slowness or crashes in affected systems. These methods include network packet manipulation, programming, and logical flaws, as well as resource handling vulnerabilities.
These DoS attacks are typically carried out by criminals with the goal of attacking banks and credit card payment gateways. The motivation may range from revenge to blackmail to hacktivism.
Nation states can also launch some DoS attacks to create a state of emergency and/or derail critical infrastructure. While these incidents may be short-lived, they remain an immense danger to businesses and their customers alike.
A DoS attack can be initiated by either a single computer or by an organized group of compromised computers, often in the form of a botnet. These compromised machines send floods of traffic to a targeted system until it becomes overwhelmed and crashes.
Any business that relies on the internet must address this potential threat, as it could prevent access to certain website features and online shops. Furthermore, such an incident could damage a company’s reputation and result in costly fines from regulatory organizations.
DoS attacks typically employ tools to generate a large volume of malformed network requests in an attempt to overload web servers. Examples include HULK, which uses referrer forgery to exploit a server’s resource pool, and XOIC, which generates many unique requests with an unstable pattern.
Please share this post with your friends, family, or business associates who may encounter cybersecurity attacks.