Cyber attacks can come in many different forms. While some of them involve the use of malware, others do not. A privilege escalation cyber attack, for instance, doesn’t use malware. Instead, it leverages bugs or vulnerabilities in a legitimate piece of software that’s already installed on the victim’s computer. What is a privilege escalation cyber attack exactly?
Overview of Privilege Escalation Cyber Attacks
A privilege escalation cyber attack is an intrusion by an unauthorized user that involves the exploitation of a bug or vulnerability. Hackers use it to gain an elevated status in regards to access. Most networks and systems have multiple levels of access. At the very least, two levels of access are used: basic and administrator. During a privilege escalation cyber attack, a hacker will exploit a bug or vulnerability to achieve a higher level of access, such as an administrator.
Privilege escalation cyber attacks can be classified as either horizontal or vertical. A horizontal privilege escalation cyber attack involves a hacker taking control of an existing account, whereas a vertical privilege escalation cyber attack involves a hacker creating a new account. In both types, hackers gain additional privileges that grant them access to more parts of the network or system.
How a Privilege Escalation Cyber Attack Can Harm Your Business
Networks and systems have multiple levels of access for a reason: to preserve the integrity of data. If your business falls victim to a privilege escalation cyber attack, its data could become compromised. Sensitive data is typically restricted to users with a higher level of access. During a privilege escalation cyber attack, a hacker may obtain the necessary level of access to access this sensitive data.
In addition to stealing data, hackers can use a privilege escalation cyber attack to take down networks and systems. You may be unable to use your network or system during an attack.
Protecting Against Privilege Escalation Cyber Attacks
There are ways to protect your business from privilege escalation cyber attacks. Creating strong passwords — as well as changing them on a regular basis — can lower the risk of privilege escalation cyber attacks. If all administrator accounts have a strong password, hackers will struggle to take control of them.
You can also protect against privilege escalation cyber attacks by monitoring login requests. Hackers may gain access by performing a brute force attack. By monitoring login requests, you can see which users are attempting to log in, as well as how many attempts they’ve made.