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Digital users today, live under a constant threat and fear of security breaches and exploitations. Every now and then we hear about some major cyber-attack that target not only novice users but also big companies. Therefore, now the time has arrived that as a user we must keep ourselves aware of various security attacks.
Today in this article we would like to guide our readers about two such security attacks, Spoofing and Sniffing.
What is Spoofing?
Spoofing is false practice in which attacker disguises as a genuine user or a computer network by either hiding or faking his identity with any other user. It is one of the methods which is gaining more and more popularity over Internet.
Though there are various ways of spoofing, like Email spoofing, IP spoofing, GPS spoofing and caller Id spoofing, but among all these, email spoofing is the most common way. It is because of SMTP that unable to offer authentication to block the forge emails. Spoofed emails as appears to be from a known or legitimate sender can easily target a user. The victim remains in a delusion that the email he has received is from a genuine sender therefore easily tricked to open that. That spoofed email can even contain a trojan and virus that can further damage a system or even a network if a system is joined to that.
Another way of spoofing is IP spoofing in which IP address of a certain computer is masked. Once the IP address of a computer system that is over internet is masked, then it is almost impossible for other system to determine that source from where data is transmitted. This type of spoofing is mainly used for the famous DoS and DDos attacks in which a server is overloaded and ultimately halted. In the worst of scenario, the server ever crashes due to these attacks.
While the above two spoofing needs some technical background a new type of spoofing by just faking one’s identity is also getting popular. A common example is online chat rooms where many users disguise their age, location and gender.
What is Sniffing?
When compared to spoofing, sniffing or snooping is not a direct attack as the attackers which are responsible for these types of attacks remain invisible on the network. However, sniffing can be used both for legitimate and illegitimate, depending on the type of purpose. It means sniffing can be used by network admin to resolve the problems of a network as well as by attackers to steal passwords or other credentials from an unencrypted network.
Also, now the technology has become so advanced that sniffing which was once done through command line can now be done by various software available online.
Also Read: What Is Pharming And How To Protect Yourself
Which is More Dangerous?
First, please remember that both sniffing and spoofing are threat to security, as in both cases users which are being targeted are completely unaware of the situation. As in spoofing where a user is tricked by an attacker by personifying himself as legitimate while in sniffing a user’s data is intercepted without his permission. Therefore, both the security threats are equally dangerous.
The only thing is that many times sniffing is used for genuine purposes like monitoring a traffic load, or resolving network issues that is not with the case with spoofing. As spoofing is always used for nefarious purposes like initiating a denial of service attack to make a server unresponsive or putting a malware on victim’s PC via an attachment attached to a spoofed email.
But many times, it is seen that sniffing leads the ground for spoofing. This means an attacker first sniff into a network and once found susceptible can attack it via any spoofing technique.
Also Read: Safeguard Yourself From Social Engineering
Since our dependency on Internet is increasing day by day so the risk of these type of attacks. Where on one side Internet helps us to get in touch with others, on the other side attackers can use it for tricking the innocent users with fake identity. Therefore, to safeguard the security should be one’s prime concern. One should always need to be careful while disclosing his identity over calls or Internet as you never know when is an attacker trying to deceive you.