What to Know About Eavesdropping Attacks

Hackers use several types of cyberattacks in today’s world. Some attacks are caused due to security gaps produced by individuals due to neglect, personnel turnover, or human error. Other attacks aim to exploit security flaws in networks. When an attacker interrupts, deletes, or changes data sent between two ends, it is called an eavesdropping attack. Below, let’s look into what and the types of eavesdropping attacks.

What Is an Eavesdropping Attack?

Eavesdropping is data theft as it is being conveyed over a network through a computer or other connected device. It is also known as snooping or sniffing. The attack uses unsecured network connections to access confidential data sent or received by the user. It usually happens when a person connects to an insecure or unencrypted network and transfers data to another person. 


The data is sent through an open network, allowing the hacker to exploit a flaw and interrupt it using various techniques. Eavesdropping attacks are notoriously difficult to identify. Unlike other cyberattacks, a listening bug or monitoring tool may not affect device or network performance.

How Does Eavesdropping Attacks Work?

An eavesdropping attack involves a weaker connection between a server and client that the attacker can use to redirect network traffic successfully. Attackers can employ various tactics to initiate eavesdropping attacks, typically listening in on discussions and reviewing network activities using various eavesdropping equipment. 

The classic example is placing a bug. This might be accomplished by placing a bug or a device under a seat, on a surface, or hiding a receiver within an ordinary item such as a pen. However, modern computerized phone systems allow for electronic phone interceptions without requiring physical access to a device. Even if the handset is not in use, hackers can send signals down the phone line and transfer any conversations taking place.

Similarly, computers offer network monitoring software called a “sniffer” that allow attackers to capture communication activities, including voice conversations, internet chats, and programs on keyboards that record what users type.

What Are Pickup Devices?

Attackers can listen in on targets using devices that capture sound and images, such as camcorders and amplifiers, and transform them into an electrical configuration. Specific listening devices can store and transmit advanced data to a listening station.

MITM Attack

MITM or man in the middle attack occurs when an attacker listens to a discussion between two targets. An attacker may attempt to “listen in” on a conversation between two persons, two systems, or a human and a system. 

A MITM attack aims to steal personal information, passwords, or banking information and persuade the victim to take action, such as changing login credentials, completing a transaction, or initiating a fund transfer. While MITM attackers frequently target people, businesses and organizations are also at risk. 

Software-as-a-service (SaaS) applications, such as messaging services, file storage systems, and remote work apps, are a typical point of entry for hackers. Attackers can utilize these apps to access the rest of the company’s network and potentially compromise a variety of assets, including customer data, intellectual property (IP), and private information about the company and its workers.

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