Man-in-the-middle (MitM) attack definition and examples | #firefox | #chrome | #microsoftedge

What is a man-in-the-middle-attack?

A man-in-the-middle (MitM) attack is a type of cyberattack in which communications between two parties is intercepted, often to steal login credentials or personal information, spy on victims, sabotage communications, or corrupt data.

“MitM attacks are attacks where the attacker is actually sitting between the victim and a legitimate host the victim is trying to connect to,” says Johannes Ullrich, dean of research at SANS Technology Institute. “So, they’re either passively listening in on the connection or they’re actually intercepting the connection, terminating it and setting up a new connection to the destination.”

MitM attacks are one of the oldest forms of cyberattack. Computer scientists have been looking at ways to prevent threat actors tampering or eavesdropping on communications since the early 1980s.

“MITM attacks are a tactical means to an end,” says Zeki Turedi, technology strategist, EMEA at CrowdStrike. “The aim could be spying on individuals or groups to redirecting efforts, funds, resources, or attention.”

Though MitM attacks can be protected against with encryption, successful attackers will either reroute traffic to phishing sites designed to look legitimate or simply pass on traffic to its intended destination once harvested or recorded, making detection of such attacks incredibly difficult.

Man-in-the-middle attack examples

MitM encompass a broad range of techniques and potential outcomes, depending on the target and the goal. For example, in SSL stripping, attackers establish an HTTPS connection between themselves and the server, but use an unsecured HTTP connection with the victim, which means information is sent in plain text without encryption. Evil Twin attacks mirror legitimate Wi-Fi access points but are entirely controlled by malicious actors, who can now monitor, collect, or manipulate all information the user sends.

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