Hackers have plenty of ways to breach your systems. They can use complex programs to exploit software bugs, send emails to dupe you into downloading malware, or insert a malware-infected USB drive directly into your computer. However, another increasingly popular hacking method is a watering hole attack.
What are watering hole attacks?
Much like phishing, a watering hole attack is used to distribute malware onto victims’ computers. Cyber-criminals infect popular websites with malware. If anyone visits the site, their computers will automatically be loaded with malware.
The malware used in these attacks usually collects the target’s personal information and sends it back to the hacker’s server. Sometimes the malware can even give hackers full access to their victims’ computers.
But how does a hacker choose which websites to hack? With internet tracking tools, hackers find out which websites companies and individual users visit the most. They then attempt to find vulnerabilities in those websites and embed them with malicious software.
Any website can fall victim to a watering hole attack. In fact, even high-profile websites like Twitter, Microsoft, Facebook, and Apple were compromised in 2013.
You can protect yourself by following these tips.
Update your software
Watering hole attacks often exploit bugs and vulnerabilities to infiltrate your computer, so by updating your software and browsers regularly, you can significantly reduce the risk of an attack. Make it a habit to check the software developer’s website for any security patches. Or better yet, hire a managed IT services provider to keep your system up to date.
Watch your network closely
To detect watering hole attacks, you must use network security tools. For example, intrusion prevention systems allow you to detect suspicious and malicious network activities. Meanwhile, bandwidth management software will enable you to observe user behavior and detect abnormalities that could indicate an attack, such as large transfers of information or a high number of downloads.
Hide your online activities
Cyber-criminals can create more effective watering hole attacks if they compromise websites only you and your employees frequent. As such, you should hide your online activities with a VPN and your browser’s private browsing feature.
At the end of the day, the best protection is staying informed. As cyber-threats continue to evolve, you must always be vigilant and aware of the newest threats. Tune in to our blog to find out about the latest developments in security and to get more tips on how to keep your business safe.