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Leapfrog Attack

Leapfrog attack definition

A leapfrog attack is a sophisticated form of cyber intrusion. Attackers gain unauthorized access to a network by using one compromised system to leapfrog into other systems in the network. This method allows hackers to progressively infiltrate deeper into the network, bypassing security controls and gaining access to sensitive data or critical systems.

See also: Piggybacking, Data theftData breach

How does the leapfrog attack work?

Leapfrog attacks exploit the interconnected nature of modern networks:

  1. 1.Attackers gain access to a minor system within the target network, typically through phishing, vulnerability exploitation, or stolen credentials. 
  2. 2.Once inside the initial system, attackers try to get additional authentication information. They use keyloggers, memory scrapers, or other malware to extract usernames, passwords, and session tokens.
  3. 3.Once the hackers have the credentials, they try to escalate their privileges. Attackers aim to gain higher-level access or even administrator rights, which allows them to move freely within the network.
  4. 4.Attackers carefully select target systems within a network that provide further access to critical resources or sensitive information. This step often involves hopping from one system to another, making it difficult for security features to detect the unauthorized activity.
  5. 5.To ensure persistence, attackers establish access points on multiple systems within the network. They install backdoors or create new user accounts to keep their foot in the door. 
  6. 6.Finally, the hackers reach their target and start exfiltrating data, like intellectual property, financial information, or personal records — all without triggering alarms.
  7. 7.Throughout the attack, the intruders use various techniques to cover their tracks. They delete logs, use encrypted communication channels, and employ stealthy methods to avoid detection by security tools.