Session Hijacking: A New Method of Cybercrime

June 27, 2023 11:52 pm Published by Leave your thoughts

Written by: Zachary Amos, Contributor

As the world becomes more reliant on computer technology, a hidden cyber arms race occurs between security professionals and cybercriminals. Although cybersecurity technology continues to innovate to combat these threats, hackers continue to develop new types of attacks to match. One new method that cybercriminals are using is called session hijacking.

What Is Session Hijacking?

Session hijacking is when cybercriminals take control of a user’s browsing session. By doing this, they can access your personal and security information. By analyzing this data, session hijackers can access your security details, such as passwords. They can use this information to steal sensitive data from your computer or even hold the entire device for ransom.

The Different Methods of Session Hijacking

Cyber attackers can use different methods to initiate a session hijack. These can vary in effectiveness depending on your computer’s security measures.

Packet Sniffer Programs

The most common method used by session hijackers to infiltrate a user’s system are programs called packet sniffers. When you use the internet, your browser communicates with the server to receive data. Packet sniffers intercept that communication and allow the hacker to see the data transmitted to the server.

Malware

Hackers can combine session hijacking and malware to gain direct access to your computer, allowing them to view your browser in real-time. They can even take control of your session, manipulating your computer to access your files.

For malware to work, cyber attackers must insert malware into the computer system. Instead of using phishing emails, they might use a packet sniffer program to follow your data trail and insert malware into your system by planting a link on a website you’re visiting. Once you click that link, they can take control of your computer.

Cross-Site Scripting

Cyber attackers can also use a method called cross-site scripting — also known as an XSS attack — to capture a victim’s session ID using JavaScript. Hackers will send a false link that might disguise itself as a warning message from your computer system. Once clicked, the script will allow the attacker to take control of your computer.

IP Spoofing

IP Spoofing is when cyber attackers mimic the IP address of a trusted website to trick you into clicking a link that will allow them to access your device. This is similar to phishing, but there are some key differences. The hacker must have your IP address for this method to work. Once they have it, they can modify the address to fool the server into thinking it’s communicating with you. After the server gives them access, they can view your browser history and cookies and steal information such as your saved passwords. They can also learn what pages you frequently visit, such as your bank’s website.

How Can You Prevent Session Hijacking?

Although session hijacking is the newest trend in cyber attacks, there are ways to prevent or reduce their effectiveness, at the very least. One of the easiest ways to prevent cyber attacks is to practice strong cybersecurity habits.

Using strong passwords that are not easily guessable and changing your passwords regularly can go a long way to preventing cyber attacks. In addition, learning how to recognize false messages and emails will prevent hackers from inserting malware into your system.

Keeping up with trends in cybersecurity will also give you the tools you need to prevent most cyber attacks. Investing in cyber security programs is more important than ever to keep your devices safe.

In addition, consider using a VPN to keep your IP address hidden. VPNs are programs that encrypt your computer’s IP address so cyber attackers won’t be able to use it in an attack. They will also be unable to identify your computer as it browses the web.

Be Wary of Session Hijackers

Session hijacking is just one of the many ways cyber attackers can get into your computer system. As the cyber arms race continues, remember to stay vigilant and keep your cybersecurity programs up to date to prevent session hijackers from getting to you.

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