Cyber attacks often involve exploits. Whether a hacker is trying to take down a network using a distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attack or simply trying to breach an otherwise protected database, he or she may take advantage of a weakness. A process known as an exploit, it paves the way for cyber attack. There are different types of exploits, however. Most exploits can be classified as remote or local. What’s the difference between remote and local exploits exactly?

What Is a Remote Exploit?

A remote exploit is a type of exploit that’s performed without prior access to the targeted system. During a remote exploit, the hacker will take advantage of a network connection weakness. The hacker may send crafted packets, spoof authentication mechanisms or use other methods to perform this process. Both client-side and service-side applications are susceptible to remote exploits.

What Is a Local Exploit?

A local exploit is a type of exploit that’s performed after prior access to the targeted system. Local exploits specifically target “local” systems. The hacker must have physical access to the system. The hacker may then take advantage of a weakness in the system to perform an attack. The process of taking advantage of a weakness in a system is known as a “local exploit,” assuming it’s done with physical and prior access to the system.

Differences Between Remote and Local Exploits

Exploits are often classified as remote or local depending on whether they involve prior access. Remote exploits do involve prior access to the targeted system, whereas local exploits do not involve prior access.

Remote and local exploits are also performed over different channels. Remote exploits are performed remotely over a network connection. They can target a wide variety of systems, ranging from commercial servers to personal computers and laptops. Local exploits, on the other hand, are performed locally and in person.

Local exploits are typically performed manually, whereas remote exploits are performed automatically. Hackers can use software to perform remote exploits automatically. Since local exploits are performed in person, hackers typically perform them manually and without any automated software solution.

Remote and local exploits require different cybersecurity measures to prevent. Traditional cybersecurity measures like firewalls and virus scanning are effective for remote exploits. For local exploits, though, you can’t ignore physical cybersecurity measures like locked doors. Without strong physical cybersecurity measures, a nefarious individual may gain access to the system, in which case he or she may perform a local exploit.