In recent times, we have seen exponential growth in the number of internet users across the globe. Earlier, people used the internet only for a few things, such as searching for information or connecting with each other worldwide. But nowadays, starting from completing your work, studying online, and making online payments, the internet has become a part of our day-to-day life. Everyone is active on the internet, which has also invited malicious hackers or attackers to manipulate people to hack their personal information and websites. They use various techniques and methods for gaining unofficial access to websites.
The hackers’ intentions may vary as there are some Ethical or White Hat Hackers whose purpose is not to break into the computer server. They hack websites to check their efficiency and security, and the company usually hires such hackers. On the other hand, there are black-hat hackers, whose intentions are just the opposite. They hack websites to steal companies’ and users’ personal or corporate data and then sell the same to other hackers or third parties.
If you want to know what some standard techniques are through which a website can be hacked, read below:
Here are some major ways on how to hack a website
1. SQL Injection
This is the most common tool nowadays to hack websites as the majority of sites use SQL to interact with the database. A hacker may attack a site using this technique by putting SQL code on the web and attempting to run it. This tool can be used to get unauthorised access to a website to insert, erase, or modify any new database on its server. To reduce the chances of your website being attacked through SQL injection, website owners should validate and sanitise user parameters before handing them to the database for processing.
2. Cookie Theft
Cookie theft is another standard website hacking tool that enables hackers to steal confidential information from the website. It may sound harmless, but it’s not, as websites store lots of cookies on the computer. These cookies store sensitive information such as login credentials, passwords, credit card information, mobile phone numbers, email addresses, and many other details. Hackers may use such sensitive information to impersonate users online and ultimately harm them. So, to avoid your data being leaked by hackers, you should update your software and systems at regular intervals and always browse sites with a Secure Socket Layer or SSL certificate, i.e., always search on websites that begin with HTTPS://, as they are secure.
3. Social Engineering
Social Engineering is a type of Bait and Switch Attack, where the hacker targets the company’s employer to hack the website. In this method, the hacker plays psychological tricks on the administrator or website user to take certain information from them, essential to hack the website. For example, the hacker may call a company’s staff and entice them towards promotion, and if that staff member falls in their trap, they ask for their login credentials claiming to be updating their system.
This website hacking tool is quite similar to the previous one. The hackers also take advantage of the user’s innocence to hack a website and steal their personal information. In this method, attackers or hackers send phishing mail to the users. This mail seems legit real as it will sound like a company and may describe the problems that the user’s account is facing or attract them towards free products and will also provide a link and ask the users to go to the website through that link. As soon as the naive users click on that link, the hackers get on with their work to steal the login & credit card details put in by the users, and later use the same information to rob money from bank accounts and hack websites.
DoS (Denial of Service) or DDoS (Distributed Denial of Service) is a website hacking technique in which the hackers bring down a website by crashing their servers. In this technique, hackers flood the websites’ servers by sending fake requests. The website may get overwhelmed and eventually get cracked, hence making it unavailable to genuine users. To perform this task of flooding websites, hackers deploy zombie computers and botnets.
6. Cross-Site Scripting
Another reliable way to hack a website is through Cross-Site Scripting, or XSS, attacks. Through this technique, the hackers inject destructive codes into the original website. When a user enters the website with their personal data, the hacker gets the power to access the same anytime. It is a standard method of misusing users’ data and eventually stealing money from their bank accounts through credit card or bank account details.
7. DNS Spoofing
Another name for DNS spoofing is DNS Cache Poisoning. This website hacking technique is quite popular among black hat hackers. As in this technique, the attackers force users to land on fake websites by changing the IP address stored on the DNS server of the users, directing them to fake websites. Once the user lands on the fake website, the hackers corrupt the users’ device by installing malware and also steal their personal information from various websites and use the same for illegal purposes.
8. Brute Force Attack
The password is used by hackers to hack a specific website using this technique. In this method, the attackers try multiple password combinations, and they keep trying until they succeed. This process may sound simple, but in reality, it is difficult, as the longer the password is, the more challenging it becomes for the attackers to crack it using brute force. The method takes a lot of time and power to execute. So we would like to advise you to never keep your passwords simple and short, as if you make this mistake, you are inviting hackers to attack your account and steal personal information.
9. Code Injection Attacks
This is another method of hacking or attacking a website where the website gets blasted through the injected malware and codes by the black hat hackers. A website may quickly get vulnerable to code injection attacks due to inappropriate handling of data inputs. This type of attack is more prone to happen when the data is not correctly validated. Then the attackers inject harmful malware viruses into the device and take charge of the security and integrity of the system. Now, as the system is already infected, it gets prone to more vulnerable attacks in the future.
10. Non-Targeted Website Attack
In this website hacking method, the hackers do not target any particular website for hacking. Instead, they target vulnerabilities existing in the plug-ins, CMS, or templates. In this method, attackers create an exploit and target WordPress running on a particular version. They then write up a bot and search the internet for the website that runs that specific WordPress version. Attackers then prepare a list of potential targets and attacks. While attacking, they inject malware into the websites, erase the data, and steal essential information.
Hackers have become powerful in today’s world of cybercrime, and they may attack any website utilizing the strategies and tools outlined above. It is a complete misconception that cyber-criminals cannot target small, unpopular websites with a significant amount of users and traffic.
Hackers can attack any websites that are suffering from a security vulnerability. As hacking does not work manually, they create built-in automated bots using the above-stated methods, and these bots will crawl into any website and launch malicious viruses and attacks on it irrespective of their no. of visitors and website traffic.
If you own a small business and operate websites on a limited budget, you may not want or be able to afford to install basic security measures on your sites. In this case learning numerous hacking strategies, methods, and technologies to protect yourself from such malevolent attackers and hackers would be beneficial. On the internet, you can find a variety of hacking lessons and courses. You will gain an understanding of the areas from which you can safeguard your websites from being attacked, as well as the ability to seal any loopholes in your website, if any, to avoid attacks, through such lessons.
So, what are you waiting for? By reading the above article, you are already aware of how hackers attack websites. Now it’s your turn to educate yourself about the same and prevent your website from being attacked.
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