Man-in-the-Middle Attacks: How to Avoid Them

In the network we can find many threats that can put our security at risk. Some of them seek to steal personal information, passwords, others compromise the proper functioning of computers and servers … But whatever we are facing, it is important to follow some essential recommendations. In this article we talk about the different Man-in-the-Middle attacks and of course we will give tips to be protected at all times.

How a Man-in-the-Middle Attack Works

We can say that a Man-in-the-Middle or MitM attack is one in which an intermediary can intercept communications. An attacker could collect information that we send or receive for example over a Wi-Fi network.

Man-in-the-Middle Attacks: How to Avoid Them

Through this technique, various objectives can be achieved by cybercriminals. One of them is to be able to interfere and read the content . Let’s say we are connected to a public network and using an unencrypted messaging application. You could read everything we send and receive, something that would put privacy at risk.

But they could also manipulate all that data . This could lead to fake pages being shown to us, creating Phishing sites that can steal passwords, modifying where we send a payment through a bank account, etc.

Without a doubt, we are facing an important problem that can affect both private users as well as companies and organizations. There are different methods that they can use. All of them could weigh on our security.

Main types of MitM attacks

As we say, there are different types of Man-in-the-Middle attacks and they should be known. In this way we will know what we are facing and we can take measures to avoid problems that could compromise our privacy and security on the network.

DNS Spoofing

It is also known as DNS hijacking . DNS Spoofing attacks basically consist of cache poisoning in the domain name system. This is what will allow us to enter a web page, such as this article, and show us the content correctly.

What DNS does is translate that name that we put in the browser by the corresponding IP address. This prevents us from having to memorize numbers and we simply have to know what the name is. Such an attack could lead users to malicious pages.

Ataques MitM

HTTPS Spoofing

In this case, the attack is aimed at the user, the ultimate victim, ending up on an unencrypted page . This can be achieved through a link on a third-party site, through email, etc.

The victim thinks that he is going to enter an encrypted page, HTTPS, but in reality he is accessing a copy in the HTTP version, without encryption. There you will put your data, log in or even make a payment, but all that will be controlled by the attacker. You will have access to all content.

Email hijacking

Another man-in-the-middle attack is email hijacking . There is no doubt that we are facing a means of communication widely used today both by private users as well as by companies and organizations.

If they can access our e-mail, they could get a lot of information . They could not only read all the messages sent and received, but also have access to passwords of social networks and many platforms where we are registered. They can use this method to access bank accounts, obtain more personal information to carry out other attacks, etc.

Theft of browser cookies

It is certainly a classic of the Man-in-The-Middle attacks. Browser cookies store user information. They save names to log in, sites visited, purchases we have made or products we have seen.

With this an attacker can have several objectives. One of them is simply obtaining personal information . They can learn more about the victim, know what they visit, what tastes they have, etc. This can be used to launch more personalized phishing attacks, for example. Also even to sell that data to third parties and profit.

But another issue to keep in mind is that attackers could steal the browser’s cookies in order to access our accounts . It is as if they achieved the credentials and passwords to be able to enter all the services that we have saved in our browser.

Protection against man-in-the-middle attacks

We have seen that there are different types of Man-in-The-Middle attacks. They all have something in common: an intermediary. We can say that there are many security methods that we can take into account to be more protected. We are going to give some important recommendations.

Avoid public Wi-Fi networks

One of the most common methods used by hackers to carry out Man-in-the-Middle attacks is to use public Wi-Fi networks . Sometimes they can even create a copy of a legitimate network so that the victim falls for the hook.

Therefore, something fundamental is to avoid browsing these types of networks. But especially you have to avoid accessing sites that are not encrypted, logging in or making a payment. In case of need, it is best to use a VPN to be protected.

Datos recopilados al usar un Wi-Fi público

Enter only encrypted pages

HTTPS web pages are encrypted and more secure than HTTP to prevent Man-in-the-Middle attacks. This does not mean that all sites of this type will be reliable and that they cannot contain malware, but at least we will prevent the information we send and receive from being intercepted.

Therefore, one more tip is to only access websites that keep the information encrypted and not have problems. It is an important way to protect privacy and reduce the risk of intruders.

Always have your computers protected

Of course, something essential to avoid this type of intermediary attacks is to have the computers protected. You have to have security tools . A good antivirus, firewall, or even browser extensions can prevent malware from entering.

This is something that we must apply no matter what type of operating system or device we are using. We must always have tools that adequately protect us and thus reduce the impact that malicious software can produce.

Keep systems up to date

On many occasions, security flaws arise that can be exploited by hackers and carry out their Man-in-The-Middle attacks and steal information or compromise computers. To avoid this, one of the best recommendations we can give is to make sure that we always have the systems correctly updated and with all the patches.

But it is not only necessary to take into account the operating system, but also any program and especially the browsers. Everything must have the latest versions available and thus avoid problems that may appear.

Common sense

On the other hand, we cannot forget common sense . Sometimes these attacks come after the victim has clicked on a dangerous link or downloaded a malicious file. You have to avoid making mistakes of this kind. We must be protected at all times and not make it easy for cybercriminals.

In short, there are different types of man-in-the-middle attacks, so we must be protected at all times. We have given some important tips that we can put into practice and not have problems of this type that affect privacy and security on the network.