What is The Difference Between HTTP and HTTPS?

Many of you might be accustomed to HTTP:// or HTTPS://. But what do they mean? What is the Difference Between HTTP and HTTPS?

Let’s have a look at the topic HTTP vs HTTPS in detail.

What is HTTP?

  • HTTP stands for Hypertext Transfer Protocol. They are a set of rules which govern the transmission of any information on the World Wide Web.
  • HTTP also sets the standard rules for the servers, and web browsers to communicate with each other.
  • HTTP, built on top of TCP; is an application layer network protocol.
  • HTTP is an application layer protocol. It transfers information between networked devices.
  • HTTP works on top layers of the network protocol stack.  HTTP flow includes a client machine that sends a request to a server and gets a  response message in return.
  • HTTP is known as stateless protocol as every command is independent and executes separately. It does not require the reference of any previous command that is executed.

Sample HTTP Request

GET /index.html HTTP/1.1
Host: www.ABC.com
User-Agent: Chrome/5.0
Accept: text/xml,application/xml,application/xhtml+xml,text/html*/*
Accept-Language: en-us
Accept-Charset: ISO-8859-1,utf-8
Connection: keep-alive
<blank line>

Sample HTTP Response

HTTP/1.1 200 OK
Date: Thu, 24 Jul 2008 17:36:27 GMT
Server: Apache-Coyote/1.1
Content-Type: text/html;charset=UTF-8
Content-Length: 1846


Also Read: What does your company cyber system need vulnerability Assessment?

What is HTTPS?

  • HTTPS stands for HyperText Transfer Protocol Secure.  As the name suggests it’s a more secured and advanced version of HTTP.
  • For Data Communication HTTPS uses port no. 443. To enhance the security of all the transactions, HTTPS encrypts all the communications that are done with SSL.
  • HTTPS is a mix of HTTP and SSL/TLS protocols.
  • HTTPS works by establishing a  secure encrypted link between the browser and the server by providing provides two-way security of Data.
  • It safeguards your potentially sensitive data from various threats.

HTTPS Example

Sample HTTPS Request

request(‘https://example.com/url?a=b’, function (error, response, body) {
  if (!error && response.statusCode == 200) {

Difference Between HTTP and HTTPS

Features exclusive to HTTPS

HTTPS takes an upper hand on HTTP, and there are a few features that are exclusive to HTTPS. Some of them are:

  • GeoLocation: geolocation enables to find the user location and this feature is exclusive to HTTPS only.
  • Web push notifications: Web Push notifications are another feature that is exclusive to HTTPS only.
  • PWA – Progressive Web App: this very impressive feature allows you to convert your website into an Android mobile app. It is available only on HTTPS.
  • GetUserMedia: HTTP puts a limitation on users by not allowing them to use a camera/microphone.

What are the major differences between HTTP and HTTPS?

  1. HTTP does not have any advanced security mechanism whereas HTTPS offers higher security with SSL or TLS Digital Certificate that provides security to all your communication that takes place between server and browser.
  2. By default HTTP works on port 80 and HTTPS works on port 443.
  3. Another major difference lies in that HTTPS runs at Transport Layer whereas HTTP runs at the Application Layer.
  4. Data in HTTP is transferred as plain text and data in HTTPS is transferred as encrypted text.
  5. When talking about their speed, HTTP takes a front seat with being faster as HTTPS consumes more time in encryption.

Now let’s talk in terms of the advantages and disadvantages of HTTP and HTTPS.

First, let’s discuss the advantages of both  HTTP and HTTPS:

Advantages of HTTP

  1. HTTP has the advantage of being executed with other protocols on the networks
  2. It is not dependent on Runtime support
  3. HTTP pages are faster to access as they are directly stored on computer and internet caches and do not require any encryption.
  4. It allows cross-platform porting
  5. It can be used over Firewalls.
  6. HTTP is platform-independent
  7. Global applications are possible
  8. It is not Connection Oriented

Advantages of HTTPS

  1. Generally, all the sites running on HTTPS, redirect themselves automatically. Even if your type HTTP://, it will be redirected to HTTPS.
  2. It is used for all secured transactions that allow users like online banking.
  3. It uses SSL technology to protect users. Each SSL contains unique, authenticated information about the certificate owner.

Disadvantages/limitations of HTTP vs HTTPS

Since we have had a glimpse of the advantages of both HTTP and HTTPS, let’s have a look into their limitations.

Disadvantages of HTTP

  1. It provides less or no privacy as content is visible to everyone.
  2. It uses no encryption method and hence the content can be altered by anyone. In short, it provides no security.

Disadvantages of HTTPS

  1. Though HTTPS provides security, it cannot secure the cached pages on the browser.
  2. There is no security to the data in the browser memory.
  3. HTTPS is slower.
  4. It enhances the computational overhead.
  5. It increased the network overhead

Difference between HTTP and HTTPS.

Parameter HTTP HTTPS
Protocol It is a hypertext transfer protocol. It is a hypertext transfer protocol with security.
Security It is less secure. Anyone can read and edit content. It is more secure and used for secure transactions like banking, etc.
Port Port 80 is the default port Port 443 is the default port.
Usage HTTP URLs begin with HTTP:// HTTPS URLs begin with https://
Used in It is generally used for a website that is focused more on information purposes like blogs It is used for websites that require security like banking websites.
Encryption It does not encrypt data while transferring it. The information is transferred as it is and hence is more vulnerable to threats The data is encrypted before being transferred and is again decrypted at the receiver’s end. Since the data is in encrypted form there are fewer chances of any security threats.
Protocol It operates at the TCP/IP level. Uses HTTP for transmission, with an enhanced TLS/SSL connection for better security
Validations No validations are required It requires an SSL certificate
Data encryption No encryption Uses encryption to secure data
Search It does not have any effect on search. It does not play any role in improving search ranking. It improves the search ranking.
Speed It is faster than HTTPS, as no time is consumed in encryption and decryption It is slower than HTTP, as  time is consumed in encryption and decryption of data
Vulnerability It is very vulnerable to hackers It is less vulnerable to hackers.

Also read: Top 10 Vulnerability list released OWASP that can harm your company

What is an SSL Certificate?

Commonly called a TSL, an SSL certificate is a digitally bind-key that contains crucial information about an organization.

After installation of SSL certificates set a padlock that indicates a safe web connection with the PC and the web server connected to it.

SSL certificate helps in encrypting internet traffic and verifies the server identity.

The information included in the SSL certificate

  • The domain name for which the certificate was issued for
  • For whom was the certificate issued to
  • Digital signature of the company
  • The authority which issued this certificate
  • Issue date
  • Subdomains that are associated with the company
  • The expiration date of the certificate
  • Public key

Why do you need an SSL certificate?

  • SSL has the ability to encrypt communication happening between two internet entities so that privacy can be maintained
  • SSL ensures that information is sent to the right server. Pretenders who are waiting to exploit can be avoided because of this
  • SSL icon is a trust symbol and will drive users to access the website

Types of SSL/TLS certificate used with HTTPS

Let’s look into the different types of SSL/TLS certificates used with HTTPS

  1. Domain Validation: It validates Domain name ownership.
  2. Organization Validation: It validates the owner’s identity.
  3. Extended Validation: It validates Domain name validation, owner identity, and business registration proof.

Things to know before switching from HTTP to HTTPS


There is a mad race for switching from HTTP to HTTPS, and that is for a good. After all, HTTPS offers many benefits over HTTP.

But switching from HTTP TO HTTPS is a tricky task. Though the process might seem simple, it involves a lot of cautionary measures.

There are a few things that you should remember while switching from HTTP to HTTPS.


How to Convert HTTP to HTTPS

  • The first step is to get an SSL certificate
  • Next, you will have to install it on the website’s hosting account
  • In the next step, you have to configure the 301 redirects. To do this you will have to alter the .htaccess file that is seated in the root folder
  • The last step is updating the robots.txt file and notifying the search engines about your switch.

This process might seem very easy,  but it is not as easy and straightforward as it appears.

You can ease out your work by taking the help of Service providers to configure SSL certificates.

Though it might incur an additional cost, it might save you from a lot of hassle. Also, remember a few things before switching from HTTP to HTTPS:

  • Informing the search engines about you switching from HTTP to HTTPS
  • For any resources, you can prefer using the relative URLs
  • Make sure that your HTTPS site is reachable through robots.txt
  • Don’t forget to keep an eye on your site before and after switching from HTTP to HTTPS and keep track of the changes.

SEO Perspective of HTTPS

In recent times, website owners do everything to improve their SEO ranking as it is one of the very important features for any website to remain in the never-ending race to rank higher on search engines.

Websites strive to be listed on the first page of search engines. And one of the tactics to improve the ranking is to switch on to HTTPS, as HTTPS helps in improving SEO ranking whereas HTTP does not.

How HTTPS Helps in better search engine Ranking
Difference Between HTTP and HTTPS in SEO

Why do you need HTTPS for creating AMP pages?

HTTPS is essential for creating AMP (accelerated mobile pages). AMP is truly an innovation by google to load web content as swiftly as possible on mobile devices.

When it comes to baking good rank in SERP and gaining the trust of Google HTTPS plays a pivotal role.

HTTPS serves as an important tanking signal as well as a crucial part of cybersecurity.

How does HTTPS authenticate web servers?

Authentication verifies if a system or person is What they claim to be. HTTP does not support identity verification.

HTTP works on priority rather than security. But with increasing security risks, authentication becomes important.

The private key confirms the server ID like an ID card confirms any person’s ID.

When a user navigates through a website its key is authenticated to ensure that the server is a legitimate host. It prevents a number of attacks like:

  • On-path attacks
  • DNS hijacking
  • BGP hijacking

How to add HTTPS to your website?

SSL is basically a text file with encrypted messages in it.

You can buy it from your hosting service and install it on your server so that communications happen between your server and the entity.

Along with an SSL certificate, you also need to install an intermediate certificate  that can help in establishing trust in the SSL certificate  by tying it to the authority root certificate

In HTTPS, how does TLS/SSL encrypt HTTP requests and responses?

TLS uses public-key encryption. Via the server’s SSL certificate, the public key is shared with client devices.

When the connection is set between the client and the server, ends uses, private key and public key to reach an agreement with session keys. It is used to encrypt the communication between two devices.

The HTTP requests are encrypted using session keys, making the whole communication secure.

Which one is better when we compare HTTP vs HTTPS?

The answer is clear when it comes to HTTP vs HTTPS.

HTTPS provides added security, it is definitely an added advantage if your website includes some sensitive information as well as in SERP ranking.

What is OWASP? Top 10 OWASP Vulnerabilities

Came across the name OWASP many a time but do not know what is OWASP? Every 3-4 years, OWASP Top 10 Security Vulnerabilities release help businesses/web applications that are commonly exploited by hackers and offer recommendations for tackling these attacks.
As a security professional or a business owner, you would want to look into this list as it acts as an awareness document to better understand your current security approach and posture to become better equipped to determine and mitigate these security threats.
The latest edition of Top 10 Security Vulnerabilities by OWASP was released in 2017. Therefore, one can expect the new edition to be released sometime next year in 2021.
But what does the 2021 version hold? What security threats one can expect in the future for their web applications? Let’s discuss the top 10 security vulnerabilities of 2021.
What is OWASP? what does owasp stand for
(OWASP) The Open Web Application Security Project it’s a nonprofit organization that is in pursuit of a noble deed to protect web-related applications from cyber attacks. They have strong community support to facilitate such a tedious task. Through conferences, online newsletters, journals,  etc. they are also educating people on how to keep people their business secure.
#1 Broken Authentication
Under OWASP’s Broken Authentication category, it focuses on default or weak passwords. This has always been a major problem for all types of web applications. It is believed that weak passwords are still going to be a significant security vulnerability in 2021.
Hackers have got their hands on advanced GPU technologies, which allows them to easily break weak passwords, even if the passwords use strong ciphers. They use brute-force attacks nowadays to break passwords.
It is also found that administrators aren’t really vigilant about teaching users password best practices. Many enterprises are following the worst policies and systems for password selection. They only focus on uppercase and lowercase, special characters, and numbers, and not on password length itself.
On the other hand, users are often forced to change their passwords frequently by the administrators, which causes them to use insecure passwords. All they do in the name of changing passwords is adding a predictable number or character at the end of the previous password.
So, it is extremely important to follow good password habits in order to secure web applications in an organization.
#2 Injection
Injection flaws are another great security vulnerability that might continue in 2021. They can lead to disastrous and undesirable results. Injection flaws may include file system injections, LDAP injections, SQL injections, and many more. Some of these flaws are so severe that they can even lead to remote code execution.
Injection flaws happen when web applications take in users-supplied data in the form of a search or field query and pass it onto the server or backend database without a thorough input validation check.
Thus, it becomes easy for the hackers to craft a string in an attempt to exploit the web application. The sad part is that without sufficient input sanitization, the query is executed on the server.
Organizations need to use tried and tested remediation techniques like using a combination of output escaping, stored procedures, parameterized queries, and whitelists for server-side input validation.
Another measure they can take is to use database controls like LIMIT for preventing mass disclosure in the event of a well-executed injection attack.
#3 XML External Entities (XXE)
XML External Entities is a type of attack that takes advantage of the XML parsers in a web application that might execute and process some payload like an external reference in the XML document.
It was a new type of attack that web applications experienced and surfaced 6-7 years back. According to OWASP, XXE replaced CSRF (Cross-Site Request Forgery), which was present in the 2010 and 2013 editions of the report.
Over the years, it has been observed that XXE vulnerability in XML processing is steadily increasing its traction. As a result, it has become more severe for web applications.
In case if a hacker modifies or adds these external entities in an XML file, pointing them to a malicious source, it can lead to an SSRF attack or a denial of service (DoS) attack. The worst part is that these flaws can scan internal systems, extract data, and run port scans, among other malicious activities.
Pen testing cost + app testing strategies
#4 Sensitive Data Exposure
Sensitive Data Exposure is still going to be a big web application vulnerability in 2021. Sensitive data, such as user credentials, health records, and financial information, among other things, have never been safe. They are the primary target of hackers.
Thus, they should be kept hidden in visible as plaintext or should be encrypted. If not, attackers could easily gain access to confidential information by deploying man-in-the-middle (MitM) attacks for stealing the data in transit.
In the last couple of years, exposure to sensitive data/information has become increasingly common. As a result, there has been a significant rise in data breaches. In the majority of cases, the information in these exposed databases was not encrypted.
This is a big worry for organizations because finding exposed databases is not a big deal for professional web application vulnerability scanners. According to security experts, one way to tackle this issue in the future is to enforce encryption and use standard algorithms and proper key management.
#5 Security Misconfiguration
This type of security vulnerability applies to all security risk factors that are not triggered by a programming error but a configuration error. Under Security Misconfiguration, there lies a wide range of potential security issues, such as outdated software and lack of operating system hardening. The worst part is that these issues extend to the webserver.
While security misconfigurations can be easily spotted using a web application vulnerability scanner, dealing with it can be a lot tougher. Using default configurations, neglecting to upgrade or patch systems, overlooking verbose error messages leaking confidential data, and misconfiguring security headers can all increase the risk of this vulnerability.
According to experts, security misconfiguration can also be a part of network security. So, it can pose a major threat to web applications in 2021 if overlooked. Thus, it is important that organizations update configurations, review all permissions, and install patches.
Also Read: How Much Does Penetration testing cost?
#6 Broken Access Control
Under OWASP’s Broken Access Control category, it covers situations leading to issues like insecure direct object references and forced browsing. The sad news is this type of vulnerability cannot be identified by any kind of automated tool. Therefore, this could be one of the biggest security vulnerabilities of 2021.
An automated tool can detect the lack of proper authorization; however, one cannot guess whether certain unauthorized functionality is made available to the user or whether the account of a specific user should have access to certain resources. This is because the vulnerabilities can only be judged by a human.
These vulnerabilities can go unnoticed until manual penetration tests are performed. Thus, organizations need to re-use and implement access control checks throughout their web applications.
#7 Insecure Deserialization
Insecure Deserialization was only added to OWASP Top Security Vulnerabilities in the 2017 edition. So, this is relatively a new type of security threat that organizations are still getting accustomed to.
Insecure deserialization occurs in specific cases and refers to the conversion of serialized information back into objects usable by the web application. It is a type of attack on web applications where the data objects are tampered with, causing serious consequences like a remote code execution or a denial of service (DoS).
The best way to prevent this issue is to stop accepting serialized objects from malicious or untrusted sources.
#8 Cross-Site Scripting (XSS)
Cross-Site Scripting or XSS is one of the most common vulnerabilities affecting web applications. It works in a way that the hacker injects a script into the page output of a web application. This tricks the web browser into believing that it is part of the page and ultimately runs the script.
The attacker executes this attack by sending an email to the user with a malicious link, making it seem like the email is coming from a trusted source. Once the user clicks to open the link, the script is executed in the user’s web browser. This way, the attacker can easily steal confidential data, including user credentials, session cookies, and even deliver malware.
The best way to counter this issue is by using frameworks like the latest Ruby on Rails that helps in filtering out XSS by design.

#9 Insufficient Logging and Monitoring
Organizations fail to log events that are of interest to them regarding their web applications. This leads to data breaches. Insufficient logging and monitoring is a security vulnerability because it gives hackers plenty of time to wreak havoc on your web applications.
For organizations, it is important that they ensure all suspicious activities like input validation failures, access control failures, failed logins, etc., are addressed and logged to determine malicious accounts.
#10 Using Components with Known Vulnerabilities
This is a type of vulnerability that OWASP defines as putting too much trust in 3rd-party codes. The libraries of that code can be rigged, causing serious issues in your web application.
Thus, organizations need to constantly scrutinize sources like CVE in the components. Also, it is important to monitor patches and version updates for both server and client-side components along with their dependencies.
Final Words
These vulnerabilities have always been there. It is up to the organization how they deal with such issues to protect their web applications. Knowing these flaws ahead can give you an opportunity to prevent any severe disaster.

What is Ethical Hacking? How does it help?

What is ethical hacking? before we get to it, let’s see how the name was coined. In the 1960s, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology coined the term ‘hacker.’ This word referred to experts who leveraged their skills to re-develop the mainframe systems, optimize their efficiency, and facilitate multi-tasking.
Today, this term is popularly used to describe skilled programmers who acquire unauthorized access systems by using bugs or exploiting weaknesses. With the massive internet penetration and growth in e-commerce, malicious or unethical hacking has witnessed a significant rise.
But not all hacking is bad, which brings us to another form of hacking – Ethical Hacking.
In this, skilled hackers are hired by companies to assess the vulnerabilities of the networks and systems and develop a relevant solution to prevent data exploitation. In this detailed article, we are sharing everything you need to know about ethical hacking.
What is Ethical Hacking
It is essentially an authorized practice of getting into the system security in order to determine potential threats to the network and data breaches. The company hires ethical hackers to perform such activities to test the defensiveness of the system.
Contrary to unethical practices, the process of ethical hacking is planned, organized, approved, and above all, legal.
The main objective of ethical hackers is to investigate the network or systems for the weak point where malicious hackers can enter and exploit.
Furthermore, they gather and analyze information in order to come up with effective ways to reinforce the security of the applications, systems, or networks.

What Are The 7 Types of Hackers?
There are different types of hackers based on the activities. Some of the important types of hackers include:

  1. Whitehat Hackers

These are individuals who perform ethical hacking to assist organizations. These hackers believe that companies should inspect the network in the same way as criminal hackers in order to better understand the vulnerabilities.
White hackers perform these activities without any criminal intent. These professions test how safe a system, network, or application is and point out the vulnerabilities. Moreover, they leverage their skills and expertise to treat the weak points.

  1. Black Hat Hackers

These hackers are also known as dark side hackers or crackers. They leverage their skills and exploit systems, networks, or applications with criminal intent.
They gain unauthorized access to computer systems to violate privacy rights, transfer funds from various bank accounts, steal sensitive corporate information.

  1. Gray Hat Hackers

These hackers are an amalgamation between whitehat and blackhat hackers. While they adhere to the law, at times, they also take up illegal practices. It is quite risky to appoint gray hat hackers to execute the security duties as you can never tell where they actually stand.

  1. Script Kiddies

It is a term used for system intruders with little to no skills. These are individuals who simply follow the direction or use other people’s shellcodes to perform hacking. They do not necessarily understand the steps involved in the process.

  1. Green Hat Hackers

These hackers are well-versed in hacking codes, programs, and they are amidst the process of learning more. The primary objective is to become an expert in this field. But whether they will be using their skills for ethical practices or unethical practices is yet to be determined.

  1. Purple Hat Hacker

Purple hat hackers are the experts who test themselves on their own systems. They hack into their own systems or applications to identify how good they are at cyber hacking and security.

  1. Blue Hat Hackers

These are junior hackers similar to green hat hackers and script kiddies but with a significant difference. These hackers use their skills to take revenge against an individual or organization.

Also Read: How to escape from a data breach?

What is the Use of Ethical Hacking?
There are multiple ways ethical hackers assist organizations that include:

  1. Determining Vulnerabilities

Ethical hackers help organizations identify which of their security measures are effective, which contain vulnerabilities and are outdated, and can be exploited. Once they have finished the evaluation process, they report their findings back to the organization.
The managers can leverage this data to further make informed decisions about how to improve their security to protect their environment from cyber attacks.

  1. Helping Companies to Determine Cybercriminals’ Pathway

Ethical Hacking practices indicate the hacking techniques that malicious hackers use to attack systems and put the company in danger. However, when companies have a thorough knowledge of the methods selected by the attackers to break into the systems, it is better prepared for their vital resources from being exposed and exploited.

  1. Strengthening the Defense

Cyberattacks can be detrimental for companies, especially small and medium-sized businesses. But even with the kind of impact these attacks have, most of the organizations continue to be unprepared for them. Ethical hackers know how threat actors work and what information and technique they will use to attack the systems.
When security professionals who work together with ethical hackers are better prepared for future attacks, they can respond to threats’ changing nature.
Is Ethical Hacking Legal?
When ethical hacking practices are used with the right intent, it can prove to be highly valuable. Ethical hackers help an organization strengthen its defense against cyberattacks. However, there are some circumstances where ethical hacking can also become illegal. And we have mentioned some of these situations.

  1. The Hacker has Altered, Misused, or Destroyed the Company Data

While assessing the company’s system, these hackers get direct access to vital information. And when they end up altering or destroying the company’s data. Making changes in the data might compromise the integrity, and the company can file a lawsuit against the hacker. Genuine ethical hackers always document their work to ascertain their authenticity to the company.

  1. Exposure of Confidential Company Data

When companies provide hackers with access to their networks and systems, they come across some confidential and sensitive information. The company staff may not be knowledgeable enough to understand what the hacker is doing or what he or she has come across.
And, if the hackers expose the information to any third party for their personal gain, then it is an evidently illegal practice, and the companies can file lawsuits for breaking the confidentiality agreement.

  1. The Hacker Left the Doors Open for Future Access

Creating backdoors that are only known to the hackers that can only be accessed by them is clearly illegal. The core job of an ethical hacker is to identify the vulnerable areas and fix them.
Are Hackers Rich? What’s the salary of an ethical hacker?
Certified ethical hackers are mainly certified through the CEH certificate by EC-Council. Some colleges, universities, and digital schools also provide degrees and courses that work in collaboration with the EC-Council CEH curriculum. These hackers may work with the government IT sector or corporate sector.
The average annual income of certified ethical hackers stands at $99,000 as per indeed.com. According to EC-Council, a certified ethical hacker earns an average salary of $95000.
On the whole, an ethical hacker’s salary depends on a lot of factors that include certification, experience, and company.
Is Hacking Easy? What Do Hackers Study?
Being a professional hacker is all about imbibing the right knowledge and skills, and in this section, we tell you how you can start your journey as a professional hacker.
Must-Have Skills
Getting deep into the system requires you to have extensive knowledge of different technical domains and coding skills. So the first step is to master the following skills:

  • Networking concepts
  • Computer appliances
  • Understanding of operating systems
  • Knowledge of software development lifecycle (SDLC)
  • Efficiency in penetration testing tools and techniques
  • Understanding of cybersecurity fundamentals
  • Strong knowledge of coding
  • Efficient verbal and written communication skills

Along with these above skills, hackers should always be up for learning new technologies at different stages of their careers. Vulnerabilities continue to evolve, and so do technologies. Therefore, in order to be relevant, professional hackers have to stay updated with the latest technologies and methodologies.
Programming Languages Used by Ethical Hackers
A strong understanding of programming languages is a must for ethical hackers. Following are some of the important programming languages an ethical hacker needs to know:

  • HTML: It is the bedrock of the internet, and professional hackers must learn it to understand comprehensive web action, structure, responsiveness, and logic. HyperText Markup Language is one of the easiest and common programming languages.
  • SQL: It stands for Structured Query Language and is basically a comprehensive database programming language that is harnessed to query and gather information from different databases.

All websites and web applications irrespective of their sizes use databases to secure data like login credentials, investors, etc. Therefore, ethical hackers need to learn SQL to connect with databases and generate effective hacking programming on SQL injection.

  • Perl: Considering many old systems use Perl, it has become an important language for ethical hackers to understand. It is also a commonly used language for inactive web pages as well as system administration. Perl is considered the best language for manipulating text files based on the Unix system and the implementation of web-databases.
  • PHP: It is undoubtedly one of the most dynamic programming languages. It is popularly used in websites built on CMS.

Therefore, an understanding of PHP will help hackers discover vulnerabilities in such websites. Professional hackers use this language to develop server hacking programs as it is a server-side scripting language.

  • JavaScript: It is among the most popularly used languages for web development, making it a prominent language. Hackers leverage this language for creating cross-site scripting hacking programs. Understanding JavaScript helps hackers to identify flaws in web-apps. It is also the most effective language to manipulate front-end as well as back-end web elements.
  • Python: Contrary to other programming languages, Python is easier to learn. It is also the most used language to write automation scripts. This is because it comes with pre-built libraries featuring robust functionality.

Some other important languages include:

  • C
  • C++
  • Ruby
  • Lisp
  • Java

Certification for Becoming Professional Hacker: Certified Ethical Hacker
In order to become a professional hacker, it is imperative to get C|EH credentials. Recruiters, especially from big companies, are looking for ethical hackers with C|EH certification.
It extends a practical approach to learning along with a chance to acquire practical learning experience. You get to access a plethora of tools and cyber labs to build proficiency in the field. The C|EH generates trust among the employers with respect to your skills and knowledge.
What Software Do Hackers Use?
Following are some of the prominent tools that hackers use to execute various processes:
It is a security and port scanner and network exploration tool. Considering that it is open-source, hackers have free access to it. It also comes with cross-platform support. Nmap is generally used for managing service upgrade schedules, network inventory, monitoring uptime, etc.
Moreover, you also get a binary package for Windows, Mach OS X, and Linux. Its powerful scanning abilities and ease of use have made it highly popular in the hacking community.
It is an automated web application ethical hacking and security testing tool. It is leveraged to audit web applications by determining vulnerabilities such as cross-site scripting, SQL injection, and other similar weak points.
In simpler terms, the tool scans any web application or website built on HTTP/HTTPS protocol and can be accessed through a web browser.
Acunetix provides a unique and strong solution for interpreting custom web applications. The software integrates an advanced crawler that can identify any file.
It is a popular vulnerability scanning tool. Kiuwan determines vulnerability in source code through comprehensive security standards that include HIPAA, SANS 25, OWASP, CWE, etc.
Additionally, it is integrated with the IDE for prompt feedback during the process of development. The software is compatible with all major programming languages and supports integration with the latest DevOps tools.
It is one of the most accurate and powerful ethical hacking tools. It is capable of mimicking moves of the hackers to determine vulnerabilities like cross-site scripting, SQL injection, etc.
Moreover, the tool distinctively authenticates vulnerabilities to prove that they are real. So security teams do not need to waste their time verifying the authenticity of vulnerabilities manually.
It is an open-source pen-testing framework written in Ruby. Metasploit works as a public resource, facilitating research for security vulnerabilities and code development. This enables a network administrator to get into the system to determine the security risks and report which vulnerabilities must be addressed.
This hacking tool is mostly used by hackers at the beginning stage to practice their skills. Metasploit allows you to mimic websites for various social engineering purposes.
It is free, open-source software that enables you to interpret real-time network traffic. It harnesses sniffing technology, which allows the software to identify security issues in any network.
Moreover, Wireshark can effectively solve networking problems as well. During the sniffing phase, the results are presented in a readable format, making it easier to detect potential issues, vulnerabilities, and threats.
It is a completely automated scanner that identifies weaknesses or cybersecurity in the digital environment and illustrates the risk and assists in remedying the same. It is the perfect tool to include in the collection of ethical hacking tools.
Intruders offer more than 9000 security checks, making this software useful to enterprises of all scales and sizes. The security check includes identification, misconfiguration, common issues with a web application, SQL injection inefficiencies, cross-site scripting, and missing patches.
John the Ripper
This is one of the most powerful password crackers out there. It is used in testing the password strength in the operating system for auditing a password remotely. The tool holds the potential to identify the encryption type used in any password and alter the password test algorithm accordingly.
Why Businesses Need Ethical Hacking?
With growing cybersecurity scams, ethical hacking has emerged as the need of the hour. Below we are sharing some of the reasons businesses should consider hiring an ethical hacker:
Hacker’s Mindset
Today, data has become a more important part of the business more than ever. Every business collects a huge amount of data, and this has increased their vulnerability to cyber-attacks.
In order to catch cybercriminals, you need experts who can think like them, which is the basis of ethical hacking. Ethical hackers, with your consent, get deep into your system, identify weak points, and implement remediations.
Penetration Testing
Penetration testing is also known as PEN testing and is used to discover vulnerabilities of the system that malicious hackers can target. There are different methods to conduct penetration testing, and its usage depends on the requirements. Some of the testing methods include –

  • External testing penetrates systems that are externally exposed like DNS, web servers, etc.
  • Internal testing identifies vulnerabilities that internal users are exposed to via access privileges.
  • Blind testing encourages real attacks from malicious hackers.
  • Targeted testing centers on the people within the organization and the hacker. It is about making the staff aware of the hacking being executed.

Testers are provided with limited data with regards to the target, and they have to perform reconnaissance before the attack. Penetration testing is one of the biggest reasons to hire ethical hackers.
Assistance in Secure Cloud Transition
Organizations are moving towards the cloud to leverage efficient IT outsourcing and virtualization. This transition has also increased the threat level and the need for ethical hackers. Security has been the main concern for cloud computing.
If you want to harness cloud and digitalization potentials without risking your security, you need ethical hackers. The hacking tactics are constantly evolving, and only experts can help in overcoming the issue.
Assurance Development and Quality
When proper security testing is overlooked, it exposes software to threats and attacks. Ethical hackers are trained to execute such testings. They work together with the teams and help them perform extensive security testing. Ethical hackers also assist security teams in imbibing effective security practices to maintain the integrity of the system.
These professionals use powerful tools to eliminate vulnerabilities. The process makes it easier for developers to learn more about coding errors and avoid them in the future.

A Guide to Hiring an Ethical Hacker
Hiring ethical hackers is an effective way to ascertain security. These experts offer an ideal combination of technologies and processes that caters to the organization. But how to hire a skilled, ethical hacker? Read on to find the answer to your question.
Who Are You Looking For in hiring an ethical hacker?
When hiring an ethical hacker, there should be no compromise on the quality. Commitment, personal drive, and formal training should be the main considerations.
However, you also have to ensure that there is no conflict of interest with the hacker you hire. Steer clear from professionals who are all about promoting their products and more focused on the competitor business.
Basically, you have to focus on hiring hackers who have put your company and security needs at the forefront.
The Term of Engagement
The terms related to engagement encompasses non-compete arrangements, communication protocols, termination policies, non-disclosure agreements, etc.
When performing testing of the systems, ethical hackers may come across sensitive information. And the main objective of term engagement is to protect the company’s sensitive information from being leaked.
Skills Portfolio
Based on the business’s requirements, you will need an ethical hacker who has the right skills to cater to the same and also predict future needs. Consider hiring experts who have comprehensive experience in the field of IT security.
Consider Your Budget
The process of hiring an ethical hacker depends a lot on your budget. While the scale of the IT environment and the level of penetration testing are vital factors, willingness to spend is an equally important factor.
If you lack the budget, then consider hiring an initial penetration tester. It is a great way to spend less and these professionals offer you the roadmap of the next steps to be taken.

Also Read: Top 10 Devastating cyber attacks happened in India

Final Thoughts
There you have it, everything that you need to know about ethical hacking. Ethical hackers are in great demand due to the rise in cybercrimes in every industry.
Hiring a credible and experienced ethical hacker can prove invaluable to the organizations. By covering the vulnerable spots of the systems, businesses can leverage reinforced security and avoid detrimental implications of cyberattacks.

What is a Data Breach? Types of data breach? How to stop one?

People, hold on to your hats! We’re entering the tumultuous world of data breaches, where businesses quake like alarmed squirrels and chaos erupts at every turn.

This is not something to take lightly, I assure you. Imagine sensitive information about your company being made public, resulting in chaos and mayhem beyond anything you could have imagined. Yikes!

So, you ask, what precisely is a data breach? It resembles a cunning cat burglar breaking into the digital fortress of your company, stealing priceless information, and causing havoc in its wake.

There is more to this story, so hold on tight. We’ll examine the different types of breaches, including hacking, insider threats, and even actual physical intrusions on the order of a Hollywood heist. Wondering how these cunning attacks take place?

Here is all about data breaches in detail.

What is a Data Breach?

In simple terms, a data breach means the personal and confidential data of a person or an organization is made available in an untrusted environment by unauthorized people without the consent of the person or organization concerned. This is sometimes also called a data or information leak.
Data Breach Stats 2021
Data breaches can have legal consequences and hence closing the loopholes is becoming a big priority for all organizations.

It is important to understand that it is not external elements that are trying to access your data but there can be several other intentional and unintentional things happening within your company that can lead to a data breach.

Some of the major data breach stats for 2023

  • 84% of code bases had at least one open source vulnerability, according to Synopsys researchers.
  • Over six million data records were exposed globally during the first quarter of 2023 due to data breaches. Since the first quarter of 2020, the fourth quarter of 2020 saw the highest number of exposed data records, or nearly 125 million data sets.
  • Cybercrime peaked up to 600% than the previous years in the covid pandemic time
  • Small businesses are the target of 43% of cyberattacks, but only 14% of them are equipped to defend themselves, according to Accenture’s Cost of Cybercrime Study.
  • Malware attack is the most common type and 92% of the attack is delivered through email
  • By 2023, it is expected that the average cost of a ransomware attack will be $1.85 million per incident.
  • The company Lookout claims that in 2022, when half of all mobile phone owners worldwide were exposed to phishing attacks every three months, the highest rate of mobile phishing ever recorded was seen.
  • Concerningly, 45% of respondents admit that their security measures fall short of effectively containing attacks, and a startling 66% of respondents say they have recently been the victim of a cyberattack. Furthermore, a sizeable majority of 69% think that the nature of cyberattacks is changing and becoming more targeted. These figures demonstrate the urgent need for improved security protocols and preventative measures to deal with the growing danger of cyberattacks.
  • 43% of  c-suite business leaders reported data breaches on 2020
  • So far, in 2021 phishing attacks climbed to 36% compared to  22% in 2020

Types of Data Breach

Based on how and where the data breach happens it can be classified into several types. Let us investigate these types now.

  1. Unintentional or internal errors by the Employees

Data breach owing to Human error
Employees are the biggest asset of any company. This asset can be the strongest and weakest link in the security chain. Sometimes they tend intentionally or unintendedly help in data breaches. Incidents like sending a bulk email with all the people in CC instead of BCC, or responding to phishing emails and compromising sensitive information, exposing sensitive information during screen sharing sessions with the people inside or outside the organization contribute to the data leakage to authorized people or environment.
Sometimes employees can be indirectly contributing to the data breach by not following the right security standards. Like not installing the proper system updates, using weak passwords or not securing the database with a password could make it easy for people from outside to access the company data.

  1. Cyber Attack

Cyber Attacks have become common these days. We frequently hear the militant groups defaced the govt websites. A more common word for it would be hacking. To put it in words a cyber attack means attacking a computer, network, or server with the intention of stealing information, alter and delete data causing intentional damage to the other organization.

The most common form of cyberattacks is using malware which captures the user’s sensitive information and uses this information to cause damage to him or his assets. Like at an individual level it can be used to gather a person’s bank login credentials and then used from transferring his money to other accounts. Some malware can help you get complete control over the other system, such that it can perform tasks under your command.

  1. Social Engineering

Social Engineering Attack
This is one of the most common forms of attack. Here the criminals and hackers pose as legitimate and authorized personnel and try to gather sensitive information from the company employees. One of the common methods used is phishing. This includes emails that look very real and people are tempted to open them or click links in them that will compromise the security.
This includes emails like password expiry with reset link or mandatory training list with a link to the training, courier received, and many more. The employees need to be vigilant and should report these kinds of emails to their security team to avoid further damage to the company and its data.

  1. Unauthorize Access

Unauthorized Entry attack
Inside the office premises, there are likely to be several important documents containing sensitive information. It is important thus for the organization to implement proper access controls. The rooms should be made accessible only to people who are authorized. The same goes for internal applications.

Read also: How to Secure Your Website From Hackers

For e.g. the personal data of the employee which would include his salary. This needs to be accessible only to HR, his manager, and himself. If another person can access this data, then that will also be called a data breach even though the information may not be transmitted outside the organization.

  1. Ransomware

This is one of the fastest-growing cybersecurity threats across the globe. This type of malware will encrypt all the files in your system. Without the decryption key, you could end up losing all your data. At this point, the attacker can blackmail the organizations for huge amounts for sharing the decryption key.
This is a very serious threat for almost all organizations because even with all the network security in place this malware can easily make its way into your systems through phishing emails, attachments, etc.
The only way out is to take a frequent backup of your system and as soon the malware is detected you should clean your system and restore it with the last backup data.

  1. Intentional Damage

Employees can cause maximum damage to the organization since they have access to the data and information. In several cases, the employees would intentionally leak the data to unauthorized people outside the organization for monetary gains or take revenge.
There is no way no control these kinds of data breaches apart from educating the employees against doing it and setting up a structure where other employees can anonymously report any suspicious activity by the others.

  1. Theft

The systems in an organization contain a lot of information. Physical theft is another contributor to a data breach. This includes the computers, hard disks, and even the hard copy of documents that are not shredded after use.
Theft not necessarily means someone breaking into the office it could also occur outside the organization. Like an employee in a coffee shop with his laptop unattended, or an important document left in the dustbin without shredding can make its way to landfills and fall into unscrupulous hands while disposing of laptops and other digital media if data is not completely erased it can also lead to a data breach.

Read also: What is a DDoS attack? How to Stop DDoS Attacks?

These data breaches are prevalent across all sectors. Banking and Healthcare are the most critical among them. When it comes to healthcare the picture is sad. The medical data, reports, and billing details are sold in black.
This data is then used to manipulate the patients into buying more costly medicines, higher premiums for insurance, and many other shady activities. It is a big business. Make sure when you visit a hospital or medical center, they have proper data protection measures in place to avoid such situations.

How does Data Breach Occur?

A data breach is so easy to carry out at this juncture of time. But what are the reasons that make data breach too easy to carry out or how does data breach occur?

  • Weak and stolen credentials
  • Applications that are built based on poorly written code
  • Poorly designed network
  • Malicious link and software
  • Over permissions
  • Companies inside the companies
  • Improper configuration

How does data breach occur?

How to Prevent a Data Breach?

Now that we have seen how a data breach can happen and what can be the consequences, let us try to fix the damage. While it may not be possible to make the system 100% foolproof, below are some of the ways in which each organization can try to minimize the occurrences of these data breaches.

#1) Keep only what you need

Extra data and information storage can become cumbersome to manage and maintain. The best way is to store only the necessary information both as hard copy and soft copy. Another way is to educate the employees about the retention period of different categories of documents as per the business needs. It is also important where you keep your data. Always make sure not to store important data in multiple places. 1 backup should be enough.

#2) Secure Your Data

As simple as it may sound, having proper safety controls in place is very important for Data Loss Prevention (DLP). Ensure the rooms have limited and restricted access. Ensure not to provide temporary access to anyone for these rooms. Also, regularly revisit the access controls to ensure that only required people have access and ensure to remove access for people who no longer need it

#3) Educate the employees

Employees are your best bet against a data breach. It is advisable to create extensive security policies to avoid data breaches and educate them about it as well. They should be told to follow the policies and security standards mentioned. The onus is on the company to make sure the employees are aware of these policies and standards to be followed.

#4) Destroy before disposing

Companies tend to dispose of unused and expired electronic data, including laptops and pen drives. It is important that the data in these electronic devices is destroyed before it is disposed of. This would help avoid the threat of data getting into the wrong hands after disposal.

#6) Update your policies

With new means of a data breach and information leak being identified, one must make sure that the security policy of the company is updated regularly to counter such attacks. The employees should be notified and made to understand the policy updates made from time to time to make sure they are vigilant against phishing attacks and potential data breaches.

#7) Enhance digital security

Digital security needs to be enhanced with the use of strong passwords containing mixed alphabets and numerals, the encryption and decryption keys need to be changed regularly, and the digital data transfers need to be monitored especially the information shared outside the intranet.

#8) Keep software and system updated

Keeping the system and software updated is always your best bet against malicious malware attacks. While hackers are trying new ways to break through into your system, the security and anti-virus companies are always trying to block these attempts. It is thus important to make sure that all systems install these important updates.

#9) Password Guessing

Password Guessing is one of the most common ways to get unauthorized access into any system. Announcing your password in public and writing it randomly on a slip or a whiteboard can reveal your password to a large number of people apart from the people you want to get access to it. Hence leading unwanted people to get access to your system.

Another very common flaw is keeping the password weak or guessable. Many people keep their passwords on their birthdays, street names, pet names, etc. that are easily guessable by other people. This can also lead to hackers getting access to your system and exploiting it.

Your password is like a key to your home, if it reaches the wrong hands, your valuables can be stolen. Similarly, if you lose your password to the wrong people, you have a chance of getting your sensitive information stolen.

Always keep a strong password and ensure it’s secrecy.

#10)  Recording Key Strokes

Recording Key Strokes can be done easily through malware called keyloggers. These keyloggers can record everything that is typed on your system. Everything including your emails, passwords, messages, credit card information, etc. This information can be then used by hackers to exploit your security.

#11) Insider threat

Sometimes your own employees can be a threat to you. They have your insider information, which they can reveal to your opponents. This again can be a blow to your data security.

Always be sure which information is to be passed to which employee and train them properly and get the proper documents signed to keep your security information safe.

#12)  Eavesdrop Attack
An eavesdropping attack as a name suggests is like eavesdropping into someone’s private conversation. In digital words, in eavesdropping attacks, the hacker mimics themselves as a trusted server. This attack can be either

  • An active attack
  • A passive attack

In an active attack, the hacker who is mimicking as trusted serves sends queries to the victim and gets all the details from the victim, faking himself as a trusted source.
In a passive attack, the hacker listens or eavesdrops on the information being transferred on the network.

#13)  Data Backup and Recovery

Data recovery and backup are essential for reducing the effects of a data breach. Having reliable data backup and recovery mechanisms in place can help organizations recover their compromised data and minimize the damage in the event of a breach, where unauthorized access or data loss occurs.

Organizations can guarantee that they have a secure copy of their data stored apart from the production environment by routinely backing up important data and systems.

This enables them to fix the underlying security problems before restoring the data to its pre-breach state or a known clean state. Additionally, data backup makes it easier for forensic investigations to determine the reason for and scope of the breach, supporting incident response efforts.

Data recovery from backups also lessens the chance that ransomware attacks will be successful because businesses can restore data without having to pay the ransom. A company’s resilience is increased by the implementation of effective data backup and recovery procedures, which guarantee that crucial data is accessible even in the event of a data breach.

Risk Mitigation Strategy

  • Create an incident response plan that is clearly defined and frequently updated to serve as a roadmap for action when a breach occurs.
  • Conduct frequent risk assessments to find any potential holes or flaws in your systems, networks, and data handling procedures.
  •  Assign data a level of sensitivity and put the right security measures in place to protect high-risk data first.
  • Apply the least privilege principle to make sure that people only have access to the information and systems they need to carry out their specific roles.
  • Put in place reliable monitoring techniques to spot irregular behavior or potential security breaches and act quickly.
  • Evaluate the security procedures followed by partners and third-party vendors who handle sensitive data, and establish strong legal contracts to guard against data breaches.
  • Educate staff members on security best practices and how to spot and report security threats by conducting regular security awareness training sessions.
  • Use encryption methods to protect sensitive data while it is in storage or being transferred, lowering the possibility of unauthorized access in the event of a breach.
  • Applying security patches on a regular basis will address known flaws in software, systems, and equipment.
  • Network segmentation limits an attacker’s ability to move laterally in the event of a breach, potentially reducing damage.
  • Implement thorough logging and monitoring systems to record and examine security events, assisting with breach detection and investigation.
  • Conduct periodic security audits to evaluate the efficacy of security controls, spot any gaps, and make the necessary corrections.
  • Consider purchasing cyber insurance coverage to lessen financial losses and legal obligations brought on by data breaches.

Some of the Biggest Data Breach Incidents

Even with the policies and procedures in place, companies do fail to protect their data and personal information. These data breaches can have far-reaching consequences if not found and plugged at the right time. In this section, let us see some major and most talked about data breach instances across the globe.

  1. Facebook

facebook data breach
In September 2018, the hackers were able to manipulate the code for “view as” to get access to the user security token. With this token, it was possible to hack into the person’s Facebook profile. This exposed the personal data of 50 million users. To counter this Facebook had to forcefully log out 90 million users and had to reset the access tokens as well.

  1. British Airways

In a major data breach that happened in 2018, the hackers were able to access the British Airways customer database and get the personal and financial details of more than 3,80,000 customers who made or changed any of their bookings over a 2-week period. The compromised data included name, address, email ID, credit card details including the expiry, and some security codes as well. Even before they could fix the damage, another 1,85,000 customers’ data were compromised through the reward bookings vulnerability.

  1. American Medical Collection Agency (AMCA)

American Medical Collection Agency
AMCA is a billing service agency in the US. Their medical data was breached for about 8 months from Aug 2018 to Mar 2019 before coming to light. Though the investigations are still, a rough estimate indicates that personal, medical and financial data of more than 25 million people was compromised. The extent of the impact is still under investigation and the company has recently filed for bankruptcy.

  1. Equifax

Equifax data breach
One of the US’ biggest credit reporting companies faced the wrath of hackers in 2017 jeopardizing the data of more than 143 million users who had used their services for generating a credit report. The breach took about 2 months to find and fix and the hackers were able to get the SSN, DOB, names, address, and even driving license details. As a precautionary measure, the clients were asked to freeze their credit cards or at least enable a fraud alert. The exact extent of the impact is still unknown.

  1. Oregon Department of Human Services

This was a result of a massive phishing email campaign to which around 9 employees responded by providing their user IDs and password. With this information, the hackers were able to gain full access to the medical data and records of about 6,45,000 patients. This included their personal record, financial data, medical history, and SSN details as well. The officials were detected the data breach 3 weeks later when most of the damage was already done.

  1. eBay

ebay data breach
In one of the biggest corporate data breaches in history, the hackers were able to access and compromise around 145 million customer data including the username and password. The company for initially reluctant to believe a data breach in its high-security system. But later, they found that the hackers had used the corporate accounts of three employees to access the customer data. The customers were then asked to reset and update their passwords to avoid any unforeseen issues.

  1. Community Health Systems

Community Health Systems
Around 206 hospitals in the US come under the umbrella of the Community Health System. In a major data breach in 2014, the hackers were able to access to more than 4.5 million patient records belonging to these 206 hospitals.

Read also: Top 10 Most Common Types of Cyber Attacks

This indicated a very high risk of identity theft of the patients belonging to Texas, Tennessee, Florida, Alabama, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, and Mississippi where they have most centers. They were later able to find out that the data breach was carried out through sophisticated malware by hackers from China.

Ways to improve Data Breach Mitigation

  1. Companies have deployed an incident response team to respond timely when there is an attack so that days required data breach cycle can be reduced.
  2. The incident response team should be tested using a mock drill to ensure its reliability.
  3. The latest technologies must be implemented to detect the breach at an early stage.
  4. For better insights and to stabilize the security seek the help of threat intelligence
  5. Have an effective business continuity plan and proper backup
    Seek expert advice rather than listening to half-witted one

How Much Does Data Breach Mitigation Cost

The average cost of data breaches globally according to a study in 2019 is $3.92 million. What makes such attacks devastating is that the time is taken to find the attack and stop it.
One data breach cycle is 279 days and often companies find it hard to contain the attack before it. However, there are companies that have managed to put an end to the cycle before 200 days managed to reduce to the loss of $1.2 million less than the usual.
The most devastating attacks were caused by malicious attackers and it took longer than the usual average to detect such attacks. For example, you have the case of Wiper Ransomware attacks in front of you.


While data breaches have become common and even the biggest companies are not spared by them, we must make sure we take all precautions to keep our data safe and secure.

It is important to understand that with greater connectivity all data is at stake both for individuals and for companies. This means that even as an individual you need to understand the importance and of your personal information and you need to safeguard it against misuse.



Major Cyber Attacks on India (Exclusive News) (Updated)

Cyber Attacks on India or any other part of this world are an attempt to destroy or infect computer networks in order to extract or extort money or for other malicious intentions such as procuring necessary information.
Cyber attacks alter computer code, data, or logic via malicious code resulting in troublesome consequences that can compromise the information or data of the organizations to make it available to cybercriminals.
A serious threat lurking around, Cyber attacks on India
Around 1.6 million attacks were reported in the year 2020. The world was moving to remote corners of the world and security was under serious threat owing to work from home.
Indian Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-IN) has alerted over 700 organizations to be alert about cyber attacks and suggested improving their cyber security measures to keep risks at a minimum.
Wish to know which are the Cyber Attacks in India? Read below

Major and Minor cyber attacks on India { Till 2021]

SIM Swap Fraud

In August 2018, two men from Navi Mumbai were arrested for cybercrime. They were involved in fraudulent activities concerning money transfers from the bank accounts of numerous individuals by getting their SIM card information through illegal means.
cyber attacks
These fraudsters were getting the details of people and were later blocking their SIM Cards with the help of fake documents post which they were carrying out transactions through online banking.
They were accused of transferring 4 crore Indian Rupees effectively from various accounts. They even dared to hack the accounts of a couple of companies.
Prevention: The information required for such a scheme is gathered via various public domains and is misused later. Sharing personal information with unknown applications and domains can help in minimizing the risk of having your personal information reaching people with malicious content.
Fraudsters use the victim’s information in various scams and trick them into fraudulent activities. It is advisable therefore that the site where n individual is entering his banking or other details should be verified for authenticity, as scammer uses the fake site to get the information directly from prospective victims

Cyber Attack on Cosmos Bank

 A daring cyber attack was carried in August 2018 on Cosmos Bank’s Pune branch which saw nearly 94 Crores rupees being siphoned off.
Hackers wiped out money and transferred it to a Hong Kong-situated bank by hacking the server of Cosmos Bank. A case was filed by Cosmos bank with Pune cyber cell for the cyber attack. Hackers hacked into the ATM server of the bank and stole the details of many visa and rupee debit card owners.
The attack was not on a centralized banking solution of Cosmos bank. The balances and total accounts statistics remained unchanged and there was no effect on the bank account of holders. The switching system which acts as an interacting module between the payment gateways and the bank’s centralized banking solution was attacked.
cyber attacks
The Malware attack on the switching system raised numerous wrong messages confirming various demands of payment of visa and rupee debit card internationally. The total transactions were 14,000 in numbers with over 450 cards across 28 countries.

Also Know: Cyber Security New Year’s Resolutions For 2020

On the national level, it has been done through 400 cards and the transactions involved were 2,800. This was the first malware attack in India against the switching system which broke the communication between the payment gateway and the bank.
Prevention: Hardening of the security systems by limiting their functions and performance only to authorized people can be the way forward.
Any unauthorized access to the network should immediately set an alarm to block all access to the bank’s network. Also, to minimize risk, enabling a two-factor authentication might help.
Through testing, potential vulnerabilities can be fished out and can make the entire digital part of the banking system safe.

ATM System Hacked in Kolkata

In July 2018 fraudsters hacked into Canara bank ATM servers and wiped off almost 20 lakh rupees from different bank accounts. The number of victims was over 50 and it was believed that they were holding the account details of more than 300 ATM users across India.
The hackers used skimming devices on ATMs to steal the information of debit cardholders and made a minimum transaction of INR 10,000 and a maximum of INR 40,000 per account.

Also Know: What is a DDoS attack? How to Stop DDoS Attacks?

On 5 August 2018, two men were arrested in New Delhi who were working with an international gang that uses skimming activities to extract the details of the bank account.
Prevention: Enhancement of the security features in ATM and ATM monitoring systems can prevent any misuse of data.
Another way to prevent fraudulent activity is to minimize the risk of skimming by using lockbox services to receive and transfer money safely.
This uses an encrypted code that is safer than any other payment.
Websites Hacked: Over 22,000 websites were hacked between the months of April 2017 and January 2018. As per the information presented by the Indian Computer Emergency Response Team, over 493 websites were affected by malware propagation including 114 websites run by the government. The attacks were intended to gather information about the services and details of the users in their network.
Prevention: Using a more secure firewall for networks and servers which can block any unauthorized access from outside the network is perhaps the best idea.
Personal information of individuals is critical for users and cannot be allowed to be taped into by criminals. Thus, monitoring and introducing a proper network including a firewall and security system may help in minimizing the risk of getting hacked.

Phishing Attack on Wipro

cyber attacks
There were reports about an attack on the Wipro system by major online news portals.  Attack as per reported was a phishing attack and was done by a group through gift card fraud.
Even though the attack was not a massive one, many employees and client accounts were compromised. And the attack became notorious for one of the major Cyber Attacks on India
How to avoid Phishing attacks?

  • Always think before you click. Phishing links can impersonate as authentic links with some minor changes that might not be visible at a single glance. Make sure that you have read the complete link before clicking it
  • Install measures that can effectively prevent such attacks
  • Make sure that the websites you are accessing are secure. Usually, a secure website will have a security certificate to safeguard all the customer information. Make sure that that website begins with HTTPS and has a lock symbol on the extreme left of the address bar.
  • Check your online account on a regular basis and make sure that there are no suspicious activities. Change the password frequently.
  • Update your browsers regularly as updates often will have security patches for existing loopholes.
  • Keep your personal details secret
Bib B Amitabh Bachchan ‘s Twitter Account Hacked!

There can be a question that social media profiles are subjected to hacking all the time. But with Amitabh Bachan’s statitude the hack became controversial and was announced as one  of the Cyber Attacks on India
Lately, Amitabh Bachchan’s Twitter handle got hacked and the perpetrators posted hateful messages putting everybody in shock.
This can happen to big companies also. However, if the news gets out this can be a huge blow to the credibility of any company.
How to prevent Social Media Profile Hacking?

  • Social media is infested with third-party applications. Make sure that you are using legitimate authorized applications
  • Use strong credentials and change them often
  • Install proper antivirus
  • Enable two-factor authentication

Exposed Health Care Data
Be it any government-related data; it has to be kept in utmost secrecy. What if it’s exposed? That’s what happened lately when healthcare data of India was left exposed without enough security measures.
This mistake was found out by Bob Diachenko during a regular security audit. He found out that India based IP contained a data pack that’s been left exposed without any security measures.
How to Prevent Database Hacking?

  • Make sure that proper web application firewall is installed
  • Strengthen network security by login expiration, changing passwords,
  • Make sure that the admin level of your website is not exposed with a simple password
  • Change the database prefix from wp6 to something random which can’t be guessed
  • Stay updated regarding the latest hacking threats

How to prevent Database Hacking?

  • Make sure that a proper web application firewall is installed
  • Strengthen network security by login expiration, changing passwords,
  • Make sure that the admin level of your website is not exposed with a simple password
  • Change the database prefix from wp6 to something random which can’t be guessed
  • Stay updated regarding the latest hacking threats
Personal Data Exposed from JustDial Database

An unprotected API end was the issue in this incident. Justdial one of India’s leading local search platforms let a loose end that exposed all of their user data who accessed their services through the web, mobile, and their phone number.
Leaked data includes name, email, number, address gender, etc. the shocking part according to reports is that since 2015 the API has been exposed like this.
How to make your API secure?

  • Validate all the incoming data
  • Use the essential method for authentication verification
  • Monitor and manage using automated scripts
  • Encrypt data

UIDAIAdhaar Hacked!
Everyone knows that the Adhaar card is the most important and powerful identification document in India. More than a billion of information stored in the government database is ready to be processed under high security and regulations.
However,  in 2018 there was a major flaw that risked the huge data pool. According to reports published by major news portals, a small software patch has actually compromised the data security. There was a threat to national security since Adhaar was emerging to be the most powerful.
Talking about the patch it was an inexpensive one but was capable enough to jeopardize the system security. What made the whole situation frightening was that the Adhaar card was linked to the bank account, pan card, mobile number, and much personal information of an Indian citizen.
However, The Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) who is in charge of the data has denied such allegations. But series of news and proofs that came out might beg to differ.
Adhaar hack news
How to keep sensitive data secure?

  • Periodical cybersecurity posture assessment
  • Educate the employees on secure network practices
  • Adopt a strict BYOD (Bring your own device) policy
  • Do heavy encryption on the data that needs to be protected
  • Deploy a system that can monitor frequently

SIM Swap Scam 
Another big cyber campaign took place in August 2018, when two Hackers from Navi Mumbai transferred 4 crore rupees from multiple bank accounts. They used the SIM Swap system, illegally gaining access to various individuals’ SIM cards and illegally stealing their bank details. They used this private information to get into their bank accounts and transfer their money to their bank account. Hackers blocked individuals’ SIM cards and transacted money through online banking. Not even the individuals tried to hack the details of some of their targeted customers.
Cyberattack on Union Bank of India
Another shocking cyberattack that made everyone alert was done in July 2017. The attack was on one of India’s biggest banks; the Union Bank of India. The attack was initiated when an employee opened an email attachment. This email attachment had a malware code. It allowed the hackers to get inside the bank’s system and steal the bank’s data. The email attachment forged a central bank email. The employee overlooked the details and trusted the email, which initiated a malware attack and allowed the hackers to get inside the bank’s data and steal Union Bank’s access codes for the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication (SWIFT). SWIFT is used for international transactions. The hacker used these codes and transferred  $170 million to a Union Bank account at Citigroup Inc in New York.
Malware attack on Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant (KKNPP)
Authorities on October 20, 2019, confirmed that the nuclear power station in Kudankulam faced a cyber attack.  The attack was initiated by the North Korean hacker group- Lazarus. This attack was done to get information on thorium-based reactors, an alternative to uranium. Initially, National Power Corporation of India (NPCI) denied the hacking attack news but later they accepted that the hackers had hacked one of their systems. They used a malware named ‘Dtrack’ to get inside the company’s system through a couple of loopholes that persisted in their security systems. 
Indian journalists, activists spied on by Israeli spyware Pegasus
2019 saw another big cyber attack when Israeli spyware Pegasus was used to spy on academicians, lawyers, activists, and journalists in India.
WhatsApp confirmed that NSO Group used Israeli spyware, called Pegasus to get access to the passwords, text messages on messaging apps like WhatsApp.  Pegasus took advantage of loopholes in the servers. It allowed the government spies to hack the details of about 1,400 users. Pegasus allowed to hack and get access to everything on the phones of the user (victims) remotely. Even, WhatsApp announced renovating its security features.
Facebook database leak data of 419 million users
Another very prominent attack was on Facebook and Twitter user data. The personal information of around 419 million users was broken to third parties. The Insecure database allowed the hackers to access the phone numbers, user’s name, gender, and location of around 419 million users that were linked to their Facebook accounts. Though the attack took place around the geographies, it also included the data of many Indian users. 
Cyber-attack on Air India
One of the biggest cyber-attacks India has seen in 2021 is on India’s biggest airline Air India. The Security of Indian Airlines data was compromised when the confidential information of its passengers like ticket information, passport details, and credit card information of more than 4.5 million customers was stolen by the hackers. Though the airlines tried to convince their passengers that their credit card information was safe, they insisted they change their password.
LinkedIn Phishing Scam
Another big attack of 2021 was a phishing scam attack on the social networking site LinkedIn. LinkedIn is one of the biggest social networks where people connect with people of their related job profiles. This networking site accounts for 756 million members across 200 countries worldwide. The company was perturbed when the data of 500 million LinkedIn users were under a security breach. The data of these account holders were sold online. The attackers had sent these users fake job offering mail which forced them to click the link and instilling malicious software on their systems.
Attacks on India’s CoWIN app
Amidst the pandemic, CoWIN app emerged as a ray of light for the people of India, by helping them and streamlining the complete vaccination process of the huge country. But this app appeared to be an enticing bait to hackers to lure their victims. Hackers used the CoWin app to misguided users into downloading fake apps. In January many incidents came up in light of fake Aarogya Setu apps created by hackers. It was used to implant malware into end user’s systems. The fake CoWIN app lured many users to download this fake app in an urge to get vaccinated.
Security Testing and its Significance
Hackers and criminals are getting smarter every day. The countermeasure is to predict their attack and block it in the most effective way possible before any unfortunate events.
In Testing, mostly 4 major types of testing ate performed

  • Network security
  • System software security
  • Client-side application security
  • Server-side application security

For these tests to happen in the most efficient way possible it’s better to have a dedicated testing wing along with software development or hire services from an agency. 
Stopping cyberattacks on India to a full extent might not be possible. But measures can be taken to avoid imminent ones and save a lot of money.

Cyber Security New Year’s Resolutions For 2020

Regardless of whether your New Year’s goals incorporate well being related objectives, the way of life changes, or different responsibilities, there’s one territory we as a whole should concentrate on in 2020:  that’s cybersecurity. There have to be Cybersecurity New Years resolutions for better cyberspace.
In view of far-reaching appraisals of the danger scene, we suggest that organizations center around the accompanying security points in 2020:
Before that, you must go through some of the major attacks that happened last year to get a clear picture of the necessity of the implementation of strict procedures.
Cyber Security New Year's Resolutions
Why you need Cybersecurity New Years resolutions?
The answer is, Worst attacks that happened in 2019!
• Capital one was hacked and around 100 million customer data was stolen
• State Farm an insurance company has revealed that they were under attack lately
• Thousands of Disney fans accounts were hacked once they logged onto a new streaming service
• A cryptocurrency exchange was ransacked in South Korea and $48. Million was stolen
• 1 Million user data of BioStar 2 was stolen
• More than half a million data of DHS Target was exposed through a phishing attack
• There is a suspicion that data breach has happened in Citrix
1. Practices to avoid Crime-As-A-Service (CaaS)
Crime-As-A-Service (CaaS) is the point at which an expert criminal, or group of culprits, create a prompt gadget, “instruments” and other bundled administrations, which are then made available to be purchased or leased to different criminals who are typically less experienced.
This is powerfully affecting the universe of wrongdoing – and cybercrime specifically – in light of the fact that it brings down the bar for unpracticed on-screen characters to dispatch advanced digital assaults and tricks.
In 2017, Europol discharged another investigation that hailed CaaS as a noteworthy facilitator of genuine online crimes, and additionally customary violations like unlawful weapons deals.
Crime-As-A-Service will build the dangers of money related misrepresentation; digital blackmail and information robbery for a wide range of organizations, yet small and medium-sized organizations are at the most serious hazard.
Hence, it is basic for entrepreneurs to make a “safeguard top to bottom” approach that centers similarly to preventive security and post-attack regulation. By preparing for a system theft, the organization can limit the harm.
2. Expand Tools and Services
Digital security dangers are expanding in seriousness and recurrence, which is stressing the IT-associations in numerous organizations.
To help these organizations in their voyage to better digital security, many tools have extended their administrations portfolio with down to earth digital security administrations.
The administrations incorporate Cybersecurity well-being check for evaluating the present condition of the digital security in the organization, incident reaction for handling a progressing cyber attack and Defense working for enhancing the digital security on the functional side.
Moreover, IT-bolster as an administration is offered to give persistent help.
3. Controlling the menace of the Internet of Things (IoT)
By interfacing a more noteworthy decent variety of gadgets to systems, this carries with it the related dangers. To place this into viewpoint, there are in excess of three billion cell phones right now being used universally and eight billion IoT gadgets.
The scale is considerable and it is just developing. The Gartner report predicts more than 20 billion associated things by 2020, all of which speak to entry to the system, which can be hacked or traded off.

Read also : Top 10 Most Common Types of Cyber Attacks

To secure associations against this multiplying hazard isn’t simple, however, should be possible. The security of every hub in the system is important to bestow security all in all.
Endpoint approval is essential to security, as is controlled system associations. For instance, a representative associating his Fitbit to the work PC can result in an unintended trade-off of the system.
4. Risk management in the supply chain
Supply chains are an essential segment of each association’s worldwide business tasks and the foundation of the present worldwide economy.

Be that as it may, security managers are worried about the fact that they are so open to a wealth of hazard factors. A scope of significant and touchy data is frequently imparted to providers and, when that data is shared, coordinate control is lost.
This prompts an expanded danger of its secrecy, uprightness or accessibility being imperiled. In the coming year, associations must concentrate on the weakest spots in their supply chains.
Few out of every odd security trade-off can be anticipated, yet being proactive currently implies that you—and your providers—will be better ready to respond rapidly and insightfully when something happens.

Read also : What is a DDoS attack? How to Stop DDoS Attacks?

To address data change in the inventory network, associations ought to embrace solid, adaptable and repeatable procedures — acquiring affirmation proportionate to the hazard confronted.
Store network data chance administration ought to be installed inside the existing acquisition and the executive’s forms.
This status may decide aggressiveness, monetary well-being, share the cost, or even business survival in the consequence of a break.
5. Embrace the Cloud Storage Services
Distributed storage administrations are extremely popular now and for valid justifications. The best of them offer end-to-end encryption of your information to guard it, alongside some free storage room and sensible expenses for extra space.
Cloud storage services are available and easily retrievable by PCs and mobile phones wherever you are.
There are a lot of other distributed storage administrations—mega backup, Next cloud, Box, Spideroak One, and iDrive, to give some examples. Avoid administrations that are new.
You wouldn’t have any desire to sign on one day and discover that the startup you use to store your information has left the business.
6. Enable multi-factor authentication
To avoid identity theft and other malpractices it’s always better to confirm the user’s identity to add that extra layer of protection. Usually, it’s done by either through the mobile number or email ID of the user. Last year, the poor authentication process leads to a loss in millions. So obviously user authentication has to be done.
7. Block suspicious websites
Clear guidelines must be given to employees not to access any unknown website. Apart from the necessary, other websites must be blocked. Those who are not aware of how to distinguish a malicious site from a good one must be taught immediately.
8. Make sure that the board of directors and CISO are in one page:
Unrealistic goals are the main villains when it comes to attaining effective cyber threat protection for many companies. People at the top are not aware of the fact that fully secure cyberspace is a myth for any company.
What has to be done here is with the help of technology effective strategies must be devised to make sure that nothing happens. To make it happen, time is necessary and both CISO (Chief Information Security Officer) should have a proper idea about the strategies, technologies and time required.
9. Regular update of technologies 
When it comes to cybersecurity, software plays a major share in protecting user data or saving any company from cyber-attacks. Bots, viruses, and attacks are evolving as we speak. So regular updates of the technologies used in protecting your company must also be updated regularly.
10. User strict filer for emails
Spam mails are a regular thing for anyone who is using corporate email. A major share of them is advertisement but certain e-mails can breach the spam filter and reach you as a potential lead or an important mail. Once you click it, its true color will be revealed. Jeopardizing company data is a big no under any circumstances so make sure that strict filters are used in every computer in your company.
Regardless of what’s on your New Year’s goals list, cybersecurity is basic at present. Occurrences will happen as it is difficult to stay away from each breach.
However, you can focus on building a developed, practical, expansive based, and community-oriented way to deal with digital security and flexibility.
Developing your organization’s capacity to identify interruptions rapidly and react speedily will be of the most noteworthy significance in 2020 and the upcoming future.

Top 10 Most Common Types of Cyber Attacks

Increasing usage of internet has also led to an increase in cyber-crimes / cyber-attacks. But how many types of cyber-attacks are you familiar with? In order to tackle cyber threats, you must be well aware of its nature. So here are the top 10 types of cyber attacks that you need to know about.

What are Cyber Attacks?

A Cyber Attack is defined as an attack originated by a digital system against another digital device, website, or any other digital system and compromises its privacy, reliability or the data stored in it.
Not only these attacks are a threat to digital individuals but are a great threat to businesses as well.
“The total volume of cyber-attacks has increased almost fourfold between January 2016 and October 2017.” – Cisco Annual Cyber-security Report

Why are Cyber-Attacks Initiated?

Before moving further to types of cyber-attacks, let us first have a look at the reasons for initiating cyber-attacks:

  • Acquiring unauthorized access to a digital network, system or its data.
  • Denial of service
  • Virus or malware installation
  • Hacking a website for unsolicited purposes
  • To get access to personal and secure information of people and businesses
  • Unauthorized use of a computer

Types of Cyber Attacks

Cyber-attacks can be of various types. You need to be aware of all those types of cyber attacks to guarantee your utmost safety and security.

1) Malware

Malware is considered as software that is intentionally developed to disrupt computer, server, client, or computer network.
Malware can be in the form of scripts, executable codes, active content, and other malicious software.
These codes can be computer worms, viruses, ransomware, Trojan horses, adware, spyware, or scare ware. Malware, as the name suggests, is designed with a malicious intent to cause damage to the website/computer user.
The most prominent damages caused by malware are:

  • As ransomware, it blocks access to key components of the network.
  • Installs harmful software/malware
  • As spyware, they can steal valuable information from your system (spyware)
  • They can damage certain hardware components of your system and make them inoperable.

2) Phishing

The main aim of Phishing is to steal restricted and private information such as credit card details, login ids, and passwords, etc.
By impersonating oneself as a reliable establishment in electronic communication. It is usually done through email spoofing or instant messaging.

They carry a link that directs users to a fake website which looks similar to the legitimate site and asks them to enter personal and secure information. It is a fraudulent activity intended to cheat users.
They bait the users by claiming to be from a reliable third group such as auction sites, online payment processors, social web sites, banks, or IT administrators.
You need to be well aware and acknowledged with such fraudulent activities to bypass any such fraud activities.

3) Man-In-The-Middle Attack

In Man-in-the-middle (MitM) the invader covertly modifies the chats and dialogues between two people who are communicating with each other.
In a Man-in-the-middle attack, the communicators are made to believe that they are directly communicating with each other without any interference from any third party.
But the truth is that the whole communication is controlled by the invader while making the communicators believe that they are talking to each other.  It is also known as eavesdropping.
The Entry Points For MITM

  • The invaders can easily take control of o private chats over an unsecured public Wi-Fi. Invaders can inset between the device and the network and can take control of the private hats in the network. The communicators without having any idea pass all the conversation to the invaders.
  • It can also be done through malware. In such cases, the invader installs software on the victim’s device to process all his information.

4) Denial-of-service attack

In denial-of-service attack (DoS attack) the offender tries to make digital assets inaccessible to its anticipated users.
The offender provisionally interrupts services of a host who is linked to the Internet. It involves overflowing the besieged machine with surplus applications to burden it from fulfilling the legitimate requests.

5) SQL Injection attack

A Structured Query Language (SQL) injection attack allows the intruders to run malicious SQL statements. These SQL statements have the power to take over the database server.
Using SQL injection intruders can overcome application security measures.
It allows them to pass through the validation and approval process of any web application.
It also allows them to recover the entire data from their database. It also gives access to intruders to add, modify, and delete data in the database.
An SQL Injection allows intruders to fiddle with various databases including MySQL, Oracle, SQL Server, or others. It is widely used by attackers to get access over:

  • Personal data
  • Intellectual property
  • Customer information
  • Trade secrets and more.

6.Zero-Day Attack

The zero-day vulnerability is a defect in the software, hardware or even the firmware.
It is hidden from the teams responsible for fixing this bug. It is referred to as zero-day as it has a zero day time gap between the time it is detected and the first attack.

7. Cross-Site Scripting

In Cross-Site Scripting (XSS) attacks the malicious scripts are embedded to reliable websites.
The intruders send malicious code to different users by embedding them into a trusted website usually as a browser side script.
The web browser cannot recognize this malicious script and has no idea that it is unreliable, and hence it executes the script as it comes from a trusted source. But alas these malicious scripts have powers to access any session tokens, cookies, or any other secret information that is used by that site.

8. Credential Reuse Attack

With almost every personal account asking for Ids and passwords, we tend to reuse them for various accounts.
Though it is a big NO, we tend to reuse one id and password for many accounts. Reusing the same password can be a big threat to your security.
The intruders can steal your usernames and passwords from a hacked website and they get a chance to log in to your other account using the same id n passwords.
And if you have reused them they get a golden opportunity to peek into your private accounts including your bank account, email, your social media accounts, and many others.
And we really do not need to tell you how hazardous it could be! So follow password security best practices and avoid using the same id and password for multiple accounts. You can use Password managers to manage the various IDs you use.

9. Password Attack

Passwords are the main gateways to securely enter into your personal accounts. Getting access to these passwords is an age-old and most convenient way to intrude into someone’s private account.

Our passwords are usually connected to our life’s incidents, people and places and hackers take benefit of such details. They can even sniff into the network to gain access to unencrypted passwords.
Attackers can use either of the below given two approaches to get hack your passwords:

  • Brute-force

Brute force is just like any other guessing game where you apply your wits and logic and expect that one of your guesses might work.

  • Dictionary attack

In such attacks, attackers use a dictionary of common passwords to intrude into the user’s computer and network.
The attackers copy encrypted file having the list of passwords, and use it to a dictionary of frequently used passwords. They then compare the results to take hold of the user’s password.
The account lockout policy is the best method to evade such risks as it locks your account after a few wrong attempts and hence securing your accounts.

10) Drive-By Download Attack

Drive-by –download attack is a common method used by hackers to spread malicious scripts or codes on user’s systems.
Attackers embed a malicious script into an insecure website’s pages. Whenever you visit such websites, the scripts will automatically install on your system or might redirect you to a website that is controlled by the attacker.
These attacks can occur by visiting a website, a pop-up window or an email message. Drive-by downloads do not require users input to get activated.
It does not require you to download/open any malicious attachment. It uses an operating system/ web browser with inadequate security features.
To avoid the risk of drive-by download attack you should:

  • Keep operating systems and browsers up to date
  • Avoid suspicious websites.
  • Try to use known websites as much as possible.
  • Don’t download unnecessary programs and apps.
  • Keep minimal plug-ins.

10 Major Cyber-Attacks of 21st Century

Now when we have learned about various types of cyber-attacks and we are sure about their ugly existence. Cyber-attack can happen to any digital user at any time and at any place.
Some might be harmless or might cause just a little damage. But there are a few types of cyber attacks that had caused significant damage and had taken entry in the list of most significant cyber-attacks.

And Here are 10 Major Cyber-Attacks on 21st Century..

1. Cyber-Attack on Yahoo!

types of cyber attacks
One of the most prominent internet giant, Yahoo suffered a big blow when the security of their 3 billion user accounts was put on stake.
The names, dates of birth, email addresses, passwords as well as security questions and answers of 3 billion users were put on stake. The attack took place in 2013-2014.
The attack had severely affected the company; the Yahoo group that was once valued at $100 billion was finally sold off to Verizon for only $4.48 billion for its core Internet business.
The name of the company was later changed to Altaba, Inc. after the sale.

2. eBay Cyber-Attack

types of cyber attacks
Another cyber-attack that shook the entire world was the user’s database hacking by the intruders.
The e-commerce giant was subjected to a major cyber-attack in May 2014 when hackers intruded into the user’s database using their corporate employee’s accounts.
The hackers had complete access into their network for about 229 days. The breach compromised the sensitive information like names, dates of birth, addresses, and encrypted passwords of around 145 million users.
But as per the company, the financial data of the customers was safe at it was stored in a separate database and was not compromised. The beach resulted in widespread criticism of the company and incurred great loses.

Recommended Read: Major Cyber Attacks on India (Alarming News)

3. Equifax Cyber Attack

Equifax one of the US largest credit bureaus, faced a major blow when the data of its 143 million costumers was hacked.
The customer’s sensitive information including birth dates, Social Security Numbers, addresses, and drivers’ license numbers was hacked by the intruders.
The attack did not end with hacking only the personal information, even the credit card information of around 209,000 consumers was stolen too.
According to the company, the application vulnerability on their site resulted in the data attack. The attack was exposed on July 29, 2017, but was suspected to have started in mid-May the same year.

4. Target Stores Data Breach

End of December 2013 gave a big blow to Target stores when they discovered that a data breach into their system had compromised the Credit/debit card details and/or contact information of around 110 million people.
The hackers penetrated into their private network by exploiting their vulnerability through a third-party vender for HVAC system to POS payment card readers. The cyber-attack cost them around $162 million.

Know about : What is Data Breach? How to Prevent Data Breach

The CEO and CIO of the company had to resign after this major cyber-security issue.

5. Uber Cyber-Security Breach

types of cyber attacks
Data breaches are common events in the current digital world. How the companies deal with it, also play an equally important role. Uber was subjected to a data breach in late 2016. The company was not much criticized as its take on this attack was.
The breach resulted in compromising names, mobile phone numbers and email addresses of 57 million Uber users and 600,000 Uber driver’s driver license numbers.
The company discovered of the breach in late 2016 but made it public almost after a year. Not only that the company offered the hackers an amount of massive $100,000 to destroy the data without verifying they actually did.
The breach had resulted in the loss of both the reputation and finances of the company. The company was in negotiation to sell its stakes to Softbank, at the time the breach was announced. The breach lowered the value of the deal from $68 billion to $48 billion.

6. JP Morgan Chase Data Breach

types of cyber attacks
JP Morgan; one of the finest bank of the USA suffered from a cyber-attack which compromised the contact information – names, addresses, phone numbers and email addresses of 6 million households and 7 million small businesses.
There were no monetary losses. The hackers gained privilege over 90 bank servers. July of 2014 would really have been tough for JP Morgan to have a deal with all such critical issues.

7. US Office of Personnel Management – The OPM Data Breach

types of cyber attacks
USA was taken off when the Chinese hacker intruded into their OPM through a third-party contractor.
The attack started in 2012 but was discovered only on March 20, 2014. A second hacker again hacked into their OPM system in May 2014 but was discovered only after almost a year.
The attackers hacked the sensitive information including security clearance data and fingerprint information of over 22 million current and past federal workers.

8. Cyber Attack on Sony PlayStation Network

One of the biggest data breaches in the gaming industry of all times happened on the Sony PlayStation Network. April 20, 2011, is a date that will always be remembered in the gaming industry for the biggest data breach in the gaming industry.
The hackers hacked 77 million Network accounts. These accounts had 12 million accounts that had unencrypted credit card numbers.
The hackers hacked full names, e-mails, credit card numbers, passwords, purchase history, PSN/Qriocity logins and passwords, and home addresses.
Sony incurred losses of an estimate of $171 million. It resulted in an initial $15 million reimbursement in a lawsuit over the breach.

9. RSA Security Attack

types of cyber attacks
March 2011, is a date that is still in debates for the cyber-security breach of the mighty security giant’s SecurID authentication tokens of the company RSA.
The hackers successfully managed to perform phishing attack on RSA employees and impersonated as individuals and intruded into the network of the company. The attack is estimated to have stolen 40 million employee records.

10. Adobe Cyber Attack

types of cyber attacks
Another big cyber-attack that shook the IT giant Adobe happened in October 2013.
The attack compromised the personal information including customer names, IDs, passwords and debit and credit card information of over 38 million users.
The company paid $1 million as legal fees to resolve prerogatives of violating the Customer Records Act and biased business practices.
When market biggies like Yahoo, eBay, Equifax, etc. can get trapped in the trap of cyber-attacks, you too can! So be aware and follow all cyber-security safety measures religiously and BE SAFE!

Response on Cyber Attack

Even after taking precautions cyber-attacks can knock your digital doors. In such cases your initial responses should be:

  • It the attack real or just a prank
  • If you can access your data; take a backup.
  • If required approach legal authorities
  • If employees misuse their rights take appropriate actions
  • If services are denied, the website traffic should be diverted to other servers.

Prevention of Cyber Attacks

Though there is no guarantee to debar cyber-attacks completely, you can take as many precautions as you can to avoid them. Some of the steps you can follow to safeguard you are:

  • Use a good anti-virus that can detect various malware and can stop them from getting inside your system.
  • Use a good firewall. Use a good quality third party firewall apart from your default firewall.
  • In a corporate computer network, assure that no Plug and Play is supported in any system.
  • Corporates should use good network traffic analyzer to track any strange usage behavior from any system.
  • To protect yourself from DDoS attacks, mitigate your website to different servers and even better to use cloud service.
  • To prevent high-grade attacks seeks the expertise of a security testing company. Their vulnerability assessment report will be extensive and will tighten all the loose ends of the digital products and windows of your company.

Cyber-attacks are a sad reality of the digital world. Proper legislative rules are now laid down to protect the users from these hazardous attacks. Cyber-attacks are much more than just gaining unauthorized access to other’s systems.

They can be very hazardous. And can lead to loss of money, brand name and can even be a big blow to your integrity. So being a digital user, it is just for you to know about all these types of cyber attacks and take proper measures to avoid them and take proper steps in case you are fallen a victim to them.

Information Security Testing Guide For You

Online applications are becoming increasingly refined as the world gets more organized.
Small and mid-sized organizations currently depend aggressively on web applications for maintaining their business and expanding income.

Application engineers, designers, and developers are currently centered around making more secure application structures and on planning and composing secure code.
With the end goal to make an application safe, it is basic to have a solid procedure for security testing.
What’s exactly Information Security Testing?
Information security testing is the act of testing stages, administrations, frameworks, applications, gadgets and procedures for data security vulnerabilities.
It is regularly exceptionally robotized with instruments that examine for known vulnerabilities and mimic assaults utilizing realized risk designs.
It might likewise incorporate a progression of manual risks by talented data security pros.
How do you start with Information Security Testing?
Installing security testing in the improvement procedure is basic for uncovering application layer security flaws.
Subsequently, security testing must begin ideally from the necessity gathering stage to comprehend the security prerequisites of the application.
The ultimate objective of security testing is to recognize whether an application is powerless against risks, if the data framework ensures the information while looking after usefulness, any capability of data spillage, and to survey how the application acts when looked with a destructive attack.
Security testing is likewise a part of practical testing since there are some fundamental security tests that are a piece of functional testing.

Also Read : The Security Challenge Posed by the Internet of Things: How to Rectify Them

Additionally, security testing should be organized and implemented independently. Not at all like functional testing that approves what the analyzers know and ought to be valid, security testing centers around the unclear components and test the endless ways that application would be able to.
Types of Security Testing:
In order to come up with a safe application, security analyzers need to direct the accompanying tests:
Vulnerability Checks:
Vulnerability check tests the whole framework under test, to recognize framework vulnerabilities, escape clauses, and suspicious powerless marks.
This sweep recognizes and characterizes the framework shortcomings and furthermore predicts the adequacy of the countermeasures that have been taken.
Infiltration Testing:
An infiltration test additionally called a pen test, is a recreated test that copies an attack by a programmer on the framework that is being tried.
This test involves gathering data about the framework and recognizing passage focuses on the application and endeavoring a break-in to decide the security shortcoming of the application.
This test resembles a ‘white hat attack’. The testing focuses on testing where the IT group and the security analyzers cooperate, outer testing that tests the remotely noticeable passage focuses, for example, servers, gadgets, space names and so on.
Inside testing, that is led behind a firewall by an approved client, checks how the application acts in case of a genuine attack.
Security Risk Assessment:
This testing includes the appraisal of the danger of the security framework by exploring and breaking down potential dangers.
These dangers are then ordered into high, medium and low classifications dependent on their seriousness level.
Characterizing the correct alleviation systems dependent on the security stance of the application at that point pursues.
Security reviews to check for administration passageways, between the system, and intra-arrange access, and information assurance is directed at this level.
Moral Hacking:
Moral hacking utilizes an ordered authority to enter the framework imitating the way of genuine programmers.
The application is attacked from inside to uncover security defects and vulnerabilities and to recognize potential dangers that pernicious programmers may exploit.
Security Scanning:
To upgrade the extent of security testing, analyzers should direct security outputs to assess arrange shortcoming.
Each sweep sends malignant solicitations to the framework and analyzers must check for conduct that could show a security weakness.
SQL Injection, XPath Injection, XML Bomb, Malicious Attachment, Invalid Types, Malformed XML, Cross Site Scripting and so forth are a portion of the outputs that should be rushed to check for vulnerabilities which are then learned finally, broke down and afterward settled.
Access Control Testing:
Access Control testing guarantees that the application under testing must be gotten to by the approved and authentic clients.
The goal of this test is to survey the separating strategy of the product parts and guarantee that the application execution adjusts to the security arrangements and shields the framework from unapproved clients.
Why is Information Security Testing Important?
A complete security testing structure manages approval over all layers of an application.
Beginning with examination and assessment of the security of the application, it moves additionally covering the system, database and application presentation layers.
While application and mobile testing serve to assess security at these levels, cloud penetration testing uncovers the security chunks, when the application is facilitated in the cloud.
These testing ideas make utilization of a mix of automated scanner instruments that assess lines of code for security irregularities and infiltration testing that reenacts attacks by unintended access channels.
Defenselessness appraisal shapes a critical part of security testing. Through this, the organization can assess their application code for vulnerabilities and take therapeutic measures for the equivalent.
As of late, a significant number of the product improvement enterprises have been making utilization of secure software development lifecycle procedures to guarantee recognizable proof and correction of vulnerable areas at an early stage in the application improvement process.
How does Security Testing increase the value of Organizations?
In the present interconnected world with buyers depending even more on online channels to make exchanges, any security threats, however major or minor it might be, prompts misfortune in client certainty and at last income.
Further, the security threats have additionally developed exponentially, both in quality and in addition to affecting potential prospects.
In such a situation, information security testing plays the main role that enables an association to recognize where they are defenseless and take the restorative measures to repair the holes in security.
An ever increasing number of enterprises are completing the security reviews and testing measures with the end goal to guarantee that their central goal i.e. basic applications are protected from any breaks or unintended entrance.
The broader an organizations security trying methodologies are, the better are its odds of prevailing in a progressively menacing innovation terrain.
Information safety efforts empower an organization to dodge the traps emerging from accidental leakage of delicate information.
Ordinarily, such spillages cost them beyond a reasonable doubt, by virtue of legal difficulties emerging because of affectability of data.
Information safety efforts diminish the consistency cost by improving information review components and automating them.
They additionally empower the organization to guarantee respectability of information by avoiding unapproved use and alterations.
app testing
In the present, very much associated world, appropriation of information security procedures and systems guarantee that the association is all adjusted to the legitimate and consistence norms across nations.

The Security Challenge Posed by the Internet of Things: How to Rectify Them

Nowadays, more and more devices are driven through IoT and this rise of IoT-connected devices has led to the rise of more concerns and challenges.
But this issue does not mean that it is the end of the road for IoT.
With the support of the right security framework, IoT devices will be able to eliminate the risk of any potential threats associated with the Internet of Things.

Below are some major security challenges and how you can rectify them.
Test for Vulnerabilities and Incidents
Despite having a good security level for IoT system, there are certain vulnerabilities and breaches that are unavoidable.
How can you discover if your IoT system has been compromised or not?
As there are huge numbers of devices, apps, services, and protocols contributing to IoT system, it can become very difficult to identify when security has been breached.
You can avail the help of a well-established security testing company so that dedicated resources can be spent on checking and analyzing the systems.
Authorize and Authenticate Devices
IoT systems come with authorization and authentication which can pose critical security issues.
IoT devices that need access to gateways and upstream services should establish their identity first.
Furthermore, there are various other IoT devices that fall under the security breach when it comes to authentication and authorization.
For instance, using an unchanged password or using a weak base password for authentication.
Therefore, to provide better security IoT devices must need to enable two-factor authentication (2FA) and enforce users to create and use strong password base or certificates.
Also, the IoT platform can provide device authorization to have a limited access to services throughout the system that can eliminate the risk of unauthorized access.
Secure Constraint Devices
Most of the constraint devices usually operate on lower power.
These devices have limited access to memory or processing ability that often leads to lower performance.
Security threats often rely on a powerful system that is capable of performing complex encryption.
So, these constrained devices pose a potential security threat in transmitting data.
Often these devices are more likely to get a power analysis attack that could lead to reverse engineer of algorithms which are used in IoT constrained devices.
To overcome this threat IoT device should need to deploy multilayer security by using firewalls or segregating devices onto separate networks.              
Manage Device Updates
Updating the firmware system including various security patches in IoT devices could lead to major security challenges.
For instance, while updating the firmware you need to keep track of all the devices and updates across different platforms including network through which multiple devices communicate together using networking protocols.
Furthermore, there are lots of devices that do not support online updates, so these devices need to be updated manually by pulling them out from the production unit.
So, you need to keep a track of the updates and versions that are deployed across all the IoT devices failing which can cause retirement in any security patches.
More Secured Communication
Security challenges are often faced by IoT devices when they are communicating through a network.
Once, these devices are fully secured the next challenge which has to be overcome is secured communication across the network.
Communication of IoT devices between different services and cloud applications is often associated with security risks that may compromise the security system of the IoT device.
Many devices do not use encryption before sending the message over the network that causes a security challenge.
To overcome this challenge, the best practice is to use transport encryption or to adopt TLS that offers secure communications across the network.
Using this standard will enable you to enhance private communication, security and it will also ensure the data transmitted should remain confidential.
Ensure Data Privacy and Integrity
While data is transmitted across the network, it is important to ensure the wherever the data ends must be processed securely and stored.

Also Read: How To Do Security Testing: Best Practices

If data is inappropriately accessed, it can compromise the integrity of data and may face security issues in the future.
Thus, best practice to eliminate this issue is to implement data privacy that will anonymize the valuable data and redact it before it is stored.
Data which is not required should be securely disposed of.
Also, there are various other technologies that ensure data integrity by offering a scalable and resilient approach.
Blockchain which is a decentralized platform will help you to ensure the integrity of IoT data.
Secure Web, Mobile, and Cloud Application
 IoT devices also use various services including cloud applications, web or mobile to access and process data.
Thus, it becomes essential to provide a more secure approach to IoT security.
Before creating IoT application you need to ensure to apply more secured engineering practices to eliminate any security risks.
Similar to devices that use secured authentication to gain access to services, applications should also adopt 2FA (which is a multilayered security) and use a more secure password for authenticating services.
Ensure High Availability
As more and more people have relied on IoT and processing their day-to-day work, it becomes essential for developers to consider the high availability of IoT data.
People, devices, and application use IoT data to access and access to services which is managed by IoT systems.
The failure in accessing this data resulting from device failure or connectivity failure can lead to another critical security challenge like denial of service attacks.
The impact of unavailability of data can cause a huge loss in revenue, or damage to the system, or even loss of life.
For instance, Traffic control, pacemakers or insulin pumps are all associated with IoT platform and to ensure high availability, devices should be secured against any vulnerable attack.
These devices must include redundancy, flexibility and fault tolerance to overcome this issue.

How To Do Security Testing: Best Practices

The industry of software has a huge reputation and presence in almost every sector.
Most businesses utilize IT solutions and web-based systems to manage and maintain their business. The banking, payments, stock, purchasing and selling, and many other activities are conducted digitally these days.
The rise of digital business has made security testing extremely important. This article will show you the major steps to perform security testing.
1. Test The Accessibility
Access security should be your first priority to ensure the safety of your business and your customers.
Accessibility includes authentication and authorization. You decide who will get the accessibility and how much accessibility is allowed to an authenticated person.
This helps in ensuring that your data stays safe from internal and external breaches.
To conduct the accessibility test, you are required to test the roles and responsibilities of people in your company.
Hire a tester who is qualified for the job. He or she will generate multiple user accounts, including different roles.
security testing those generated accounts will help in ensuring the security level in terms of accessibility.
The same test can also include password quality, default login capacities, captcha test, and other password and login related tests.
2. Test The Protection Level of Data
The security of your data depends on:

  • Data visibility and usability
  • Data storage

While data visibility is about how much data is visible to users, the data storage involves the security of your database.
Proper security testing measures are required to ensure the effectiveness of data storage. However, you have to test first to check the vulnerabilities.
A professional tester can test the database for all kinds of critical data such as user account, passwords, billing and others.
It is important that the database stores all the important data. The transmission of data should be encrypted as well. The qualified tester also checks the ease of decryption of the encrypted data.
3. Test For Malicious Script
Hackers utilize XSS and SQL injection to hack a website. A malicious script is injected into the system of a site, which allows the hacker to control or manipulate the hacked website.
A tester can ensure the safety of your site against these practices.
The tester can check the maximum lengths allowed for the input fields. This restriction doesn’t allow a hacker to include these malicious scripts.
4. Test The Access Points
In today’s market, collaboration is the way of doing business. Many businesses collaborate on a digital level by providing services in a collaborative way.

Also Read : How to Test a Bank ERP System

For instance, a stock trading app has to provide consistent access to the latest data to the users and new visitors as well. But this open access also presents the risk of unwanted breach.
To immune from such attacks, a tester can check the entry points of the app.
The professional tester evaluates and ensures that all the access requests come from reliable IPs or application.
If not, the app system should have the capacity to reject those requests.
5. Test The Session Management
Session on the web includes the response transactions between your web server and the browser utilized by a user.
Testing the session management involves multiple actions such as expiry time of the session after a certain idle period, maximum lifetime of termination, session end time after a user logs out and others.
6. Test The Error Handling
Testing the error codes is important too. This includes the errors of 408, 400, 404, and others.
The tester can perform directed actions to reach such pages and ensure that the presented page doesn’t contain any critical data or information.
This helps in ensuring that all the data presented on error pages are safe and can’t help the hackers.
This test also includes the checkup of the stack traces, which can help the potential hackers to breach.
7. Test For Other Functionalities
Other functionalities that require testing are the file uploads and payments. These functions require thorough testing.
app testing
Any malicious file should be restricted. Also, the tester should check the vulnerabilities associated with the payments such as buffer overflows, insecure storage, password guessing, and other issues.
Apart from the mentioned tests, a professional tester can recommend others, according to the business model you have.
Conducting the tests in the mentioned way will help you ensure a comprehensive security of your digital presence.