What is a Man-in-the-middle Attack?

A man-in-the-middle (MitM) attack is a type of cyber attack where an attacker intercepts and potentially alters the communication between two parties. The attacker essentially “sits in the middle” of the communication, acting as a proxy or relay between the two parties, allowing them to communicate as if the attacker is not there. In this way, the attacker can gain access to sensitive information, such as passwords or financial data, and can also use this access to launch further attacks.

There are different ways in which a MitM attack can be carried out, but some common methods include:

  • ARP spoofing: In a local network, an attacker can use a technique known as ARP spoofing to fool devices on the network into thinking that the attacker’s device is the router. This allows the attacker to intercept and alter the communication between devices on the network.
  • WiFi eavesdropping: An attacker can use a wireless sniffer to intercept and analyze the traffic of a wireless network. By doing this, the attacker can gain access to sensitive information that is transmitted over the network.
  • SSL Stripping: An attacker can strip the SSL or TLS encryption from the traffic, this means the communication is transmitted in plaintext, allowing the attacker to intercept, read or alter the communication
  • Phishing: An attacker may attempt to trick a victim into visiting a fake website or clicking a link in an email or instant message that takes them to a website where their information can be stolen.

It’s worth noting that MitM attacks are becoming more sophisticated and attackers are using a variety of techniques to carry out these types of attacks, it’s important to be aware of the risks and to take steps to protect against them, such as using encryption and implementing security best practices.