The internet isn’t just filled with information; it’s filled with cyber threats. Assuming you use it for work-related purposes, it may place your business at risk for cache poisoning. Cache poisoning targets web servers. If your business has a web server, an attacker could exploit a vulnerability in it. What is cache poisoning exactly, and how does it work?
The Basics of Cache Poisoning
Cache poisoning is a type of web server attack that involves an attacker injecting fake cache data into a web server. Web servers, of course, are computers that host web-accessible files. They can be used to host websites as well as cloud-based apps and services.
With cache poisoning, an attacker will inject fake cache data into a web server. The compromised web server will then server harmful Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP) responses to its users.
How Cache Poisoning Works
Cache poisoning works by leveraging an intermediary web server. Normally, users will send requests to a web server. The web server will receive their requests, and after processing them, it will respond to the users. To achieve faster speeds and better performance, some businesses use a caching server.
Caching servers are intermediary servers. They sit between users and the business’s main web server. Caching servers are designed to store responses so that the business’s main web server can reuse them. Rather than processing the same type of request, for instance, the business’s main web server can fetch the necessary content from the caching server.
Cache poisoning specifically targets caching servers. Fake cache data is injected into a caching server. As a result, users will receive malicious responses. Cache poisoning can be used to distribute malware, steal users’ data and more.
Tips to Protect Against Cache Poisoning
There are several things you can do to protect against cache poisoning. Updating software on your business’s web browser will lower the risk of cache poisoning. Like most attacks, cache poisoning requires a vulnerability, such as outdated software. As long as your business’s web server is running up-to-date software, it will be better protected against cache poisoning.
You should also avoid caching dynamic files. Dynamic files are characterized by their ability to change. Most cache poisoning attacks involve dynamic files. Static files are safer. You can cache static files without fear of an attacker altering them.
You can use the DNS Security Protocol (DNSSEC) to protect against cache poisoning. DNSSEC leverages cryptography to authenticate communications between users and web servers.