Active Versus Passive Versus Host-Based Cyberattack Vectors
Know the difference and how you can prevent cyberattacks.
Budding authors and journalist are taught the difference between active and passive voice in first year writing classes. They understand that active is about “doing” and passive is about “observing.” These techniques can also be applied to cybersecurity as it relates to attack vectors.
According to SearchSecurity a cybersecurity “attack vector is a path or means by which a hacker (or cracker) can gain access to a computer or network server in order to deliver a payload or malicious outcome. Attack vectors enable hackers to exploit system vulnerabilities, including the human element.” Attack vectors come in two flavors: active and passive.
Active Cyberattack Vectors
TechTarget defines an active vector attack as “a network exploit in which a hacker attempts to make changes to data on the target or data en route to the target.” The three most common active cyberattack vectors include:
- “Spoofing: Addresses to the use of techniques for identity theft.
- Modification: Consists in modifying the routing table so that the sender sends message through longer paths causing major delays.
- DDoS: Attack of Denial of Service (DDoS) is to keep busy consuming network bandwidth with constant messages that disrupt normal service delivery.
- Fabrication: False routing message generated to prevent information of reaching its destination.”
Passive Cyberattack Vectors
TechTarget defines a passive vector attack as “a network attack in which a system is monitored and sometimes scanned for open ports and vulnerabilities. The purpose is solely to gain information about the target and no data is changed on the target.” The three most common passive cyberattack vectors include:
- “Sniffing or traffic analysis: An attacker detects the communication path between sender and receiver. Following, finds the amount of data moving between sender and receiver. There are no changes in the data.
- Eavesdropping: Occurs in the ad-hoc mobile network. The main objective of this attack is finding out secret or confidential information by intercepting the means of communication.
- Supervision: Attack where hackers can read confidential data but cannot edit it.”
Host-Based Cyberattack Vectors
Attacks that target a mobile device or machine or even a person directly are considered host-based cyberattack vectors. The three most common host-based cyberattack vectors include:
- “Malware: Includes all programs that introduce malicious codes (viruses, worms, Trojans) on our computers, causing multiple and invaluable damage.
- Keyloggers: Employs programs to collect everything that the user types via keyboard. They can even take screenshots.
- Social engineering: Obtaining confidential information from a person or organization to use it for malicious purposes. The most striking examples are phishing and spam.”
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