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Masquerade attack

Masquerade attack

Masquerade attack definition

A masquerade attack refers to a cyber attack where an attacker impersonates a legitimate user or device in order to gain unauthorized access to a network or system. Masquerading attacks can be used to bypass security controls, such as firewalls and access controls, and to steal sensitive information or launch further attacks from within the compromised network.

See also: QR code phishing, spear phishing, angler phishing

Examples of a masquerade attack

  • A hacker can use phishing. First, they would create a fake website that looks indistinguishable from the real one. Then, they’d launch an email campaign, trying to trick the users to go to the fake website and enter their credentials. Once the hacker has the user credentials, they can log into the target network.
  • Criminals may intercept and modify messages. They can exploit software bugs to eavesdrop on communications trying to intercept and modify the message before passing it on to the original recipient.

How to prevent masquerade attacks:

  • Network monitoring. Monitoring logins and user locations may help identify a third-party login attempt.
  • Strong access controls. Secure authentication mechanisms, such as two-factor authentication, can help ensure only authorized users are allowed to access the network and its resources.
  • Intrusion detection systems. These systems help detect and alert network administrators about suspicious network traffic or user behavior.
  • Up-to-date software. Ensure that software is always up to date to prevent attackers from exploiting known vulnerabilities.

Further reading

Ultimate digital security