How WiFi Pineapples & Other Hacking Technologies Threaten Your Business
Hollywood may portray hackers as ultra-intelligent loners sitting behind a computer screen, but in reality, many attacks come from organized groups of criminals that use off-the-shelf tools that require little expertise. Some of these tools are easy to find on the darknet while others are sold as commercial cybersecurity auditing and testing tools.
In this article, we will take a look at some of the most common hacking software and services that can be used to attack your networks and devices, as well as steps that you can take to protect yourself from them.
Many cybercriminals aren’t brilliant coders — they use off-the-shelf tools that require very little expertise.
Hak5’s WiFi Pineapple is a $100 to $200 piece of hardware that anyone can purchase online and fit into a discreet backpack. With an easy-to-use web interface, the device mimics preferred WiFi networks to perform advanced man-in-the-middle attacks. Criminals can easily intercept all data transmitted between a victim’s device and the Internet, including passwords, account numbers or other sensitive data.
If your business uses an open WiFi network, you may be vulnerable to WiFi Pineapple attacks. A malicious visitor could discreetly bring a WiFi Pineapple to your office building and steal sensitive information. Employees that are attending conferences or working on open WiFi networks may also experience similar security risks outside of the office.
Kali Linux is a free operating system designed for cybersecurity professionals. It comes bundled with hundreds of cybersecurity tools designed to test security, ranging from password crackers to network scanners to WiFi honeypots. These tools make it easy to identify vulnerabilities and execute complex cyber attacks with minimal effort.
Download our free checklist of popular hacking software and services to help you prepare.
The platform is also being ported to specific Android devices that could enable mobile attacks, including 802.11 frame injection, one-click WiFi honeypots and USB-based attacks. And, in case law enforcement comes knocking, the operating system even provides full-disk encryption and a “nuke” that deletes everything on the computer with a single command.
Rapid7’s Metasploit is an open source and commercial penetration testing platform that identifies vulnerabilities within a network and attempts to automatically exploit them. Criminals can try a “dry run” to verify that an exploit exists, deliver a specific payload, collect sensitive information and clean up their tracks after an attack. Automation makes this platform especially dangerous in the hands of criminals.
Metasploit has over 1,600 exploits targeting various platforms and can deliver about 500 different payloads, including command shells that can run scripts, meterpreters that enable screen control, and dynamic payloads capable of evading anti-virus defenses by generating unique payloads. These dynamics have made it the de facto exploit development framework.
Many criminals outsource their dirty work to third-parties that specialize in particular forms of attack. Distributed denial-of-service, or DDoS, attacks are especially common. Many so-called stressor websites offer services designed to stress test a network from attack, but in reality, they are commonly used to perpetrate attacks.
Don’t forget to download our free checklist of popular hacking software and services to help you prepare.
The FBI seized 15 DDoS-for-hire websites in late-2018, including downthem.org, netstress.org, quantumstress.net, vbooster.org and defcon.pro. These services enabled would-be attackers to sign up to rent time and servers to launch distributed denial of service attacks. Some services had over 2,000 customers and carried out over 200,000 attacks.
How to Avoid Attacks
Cybersecurity is a complex subject with a lot of variables, but there are some concrete steps that you can take to protect your business from these common attacks.
Many WiFi Pineapples and other man-in-the-middle attacks can be prevented by using a virtual private network, or VPN, when connecting to open WiFi networks. But if possible, it’s best to avoid open WiFi networks and change your device settings to no longer remember them. This will prevent you from connecting to any malicious networks and broadcasting saved networks.
Firewalls are the best way to prevent many exploits targeting open ports. In particular, cloud-based firewalls can lock down unused ports, block botnet attacks and even prevent network users from accidentally downloading malware or ransomware. This end-to-end approach eliminates many common attack vectors.
Most brute force password crackers can be thwarted with the use of strong passwords. Password managers are instrumental in enforcing strong password policies since users don’t have to remember long passwords and it’s easier to use different passwords for different services. Some password managers even include activity monitoring to identify anomalies.
Finally, encrypted data backup is a good idea to protect against data loss in the event of a successful attack. With regular data backups, your business can easily recover from ransomware or other attacks that result in data loss.
The Bottom Line
Most hackers aren’t ultra-intelligent programmers — they are criminals that use easy off-the-shelf tools to perpetrate cyber attacks. By understanding these tools, you can protect your network against many common forms of attack. Their ease of use should also instill some urgency in fixing any issues before your business becomes victimized by these attacks.
Many of these software solutions have two purposes: Cybersecurity audits and criminal hacking. The developers of this software insist that it levels the playing field against criminals by providing companies with tools to identify zero-day exploits and fix them rather than trying to avoid them by keeping them as much a secret as possible.
Jungle Disk provides cybersecurity solutions that are designed for small businesses with two to 250 employees. With a simple monthly subscription model, you can purchase effective cybersecurity at an affordable price and scale it along with your business as it grows.