With the ever-changing threat landscape, businesses face more dangers than ever before. Cybercriminals are coming up with new and more sophisticated ways to exploit vulnerabilities and try to infiltrate systems and networks.
With all these cyber threats lurking, it is critical to ensure that you cover all bases. Cookie stealing is one aspect of cybersecurity you may not have considered. Let’s take a look at the impact of cookie stealing on your business, how it can affect your company operations and the various ways in which you can protect your data from being hijacked.
What is cookie stealing?
Cookies are small pieces of data that websites use to track the activity of users. They are used to maintain login details, shopping cart contents, and other user preferences. Cookies generally don’t jeopardise user security and can be deleted from a browser’s cache if necessary.
However, if stolen, they can be used for fraudulent purposes; for example, if someone hacks into a website and steals authentication cookies, the information contained in them can be used to access the website as if the person was present.
Why is cookie theft a problem for businesses?
Cookies, particularly session cookies, are vulnerable to theft and other forms of hacking. When someone steals your authentication cookies and logs in as you, they can gain access to your email, social media accounts, and other important digital belongings. They may also be able to access your bank accounts or other personal data, such as credit card numbers.
In just a few seconds, an attacker who has a user’s session cookie can log into a web application and impersonate the victim, changing their username and password. If the attacker then enforces multifactor authentication against the victim, they may never regain access to their accounts.
It’s not just about the immediate damage cookie theft can cause; it can also cause long-term financial and reputational damage to your firm. Customers are not receptive to businesses that can’t keep their personal or sensitive information secure. It might also hurt your ability to draw new clients or keep existing clients.
How are cookies stolen?
In addition to trying to steal cookies that track your online activity, hackers are actively looking for ways to steal authentication cookies. Every time you visit a website using your computer or mobile device, you must assume that you are leaving a cookie behind.
It’s easy for hackers to access this cookie and track your online activity. They might track your activity on a variety of different websites, including websites related to your business. They may even log into your email or business accounts using that cookie.
Generally, threat actors steal cookies through several methods:
- A packet sniffer is similar to a phone tap except that it intercepts data packets on a computer network.
- An attacker can steal cookies by exploiting a vulnerable web application through cross-site scripting (XSS).
- Pass-the-cookie attacks occur when malicious users steal a valid cookie and inject it into their session when interacting with a target web application.
How to protect your business from cookie theft
While you cannot prevent cookie stealing, you may take steps to decrease the chance that you will be affected by it.
Here are some methods you can utilise to safeguard yourself from cookie theft:
Secure your WiFi network
It’s imperative to ensure that WiFi is secured if you are using it to provide internet access to customers and employees. Hackers frequently gain access to unsecured WiFi networks by using a ‘man in the middle’ attack (MITMA).
A hacker can intercept data between computers and the network by placing a device between them. You can prevent MITM attacks by securing your WiFi network with a strong password and encryption, and by preventing employees from connecting to public WiFI when accessing the business network.
Use strong passwords
Strong passwords not only protect you from cybercriminals, but they also protect you from malicious employees. Make sure your passwords are at least 12 characters long, contain a variety of numbers, letters, and symbols, and do not include any easy-to-guess personal information such as birthdays or names. You can use password generators to ensure your employees are not using simple passwords that are vulnerable to hacking.
Saving passwords in browsers is also not advisable because it increases the risk of hackers accessing log-on credentials. A password vault or manager should be used to store passwords securely for all users, and passwords should not be reused.
Install antivirus software
It’s important to make sure every computer that visits your website has antivirus software installed and up to date. This software will tell you if malicious software is present, and it will get rid of any malware you might accidentally have installed or downloaded.
Train employees to be alert
Employees often click on links or are tricked into sending information, leading to data breaches. Security awareness training can ensure that they can respond if they are suspicious about any emails or activity.
Keep your business secure with the experts
With INTELLIWORX’s managed security experts protecting your organisation’s IT security defences, you can keep your business systems and networks safe from cyber threats in today’s evolving threat landscape. Keep your network secure with a proactive approach with the security experts at INTELLIWORX.