What Are the Security Risks of a Man-in-the-Middle Attack?

It's dangerous when a user is unaware that their data is being redirected to a malicious party, as this can lead to account credentials being manipulated, funds stolen, or unauthorized purchases. A man-in-the-middle (MITM) attack is a type of cyber attack in which an attacker secretly intercepts and transmits messages between two parties that they believe are communicating directly with each other. This type of attack is a form of covert eavesdropping, as the attacker takes control of the entire conversation. As cybersecurity becomes an increasingly important issue for organizations and individuals, it's important to understand the concept of MITM attacks.

While it may not be possible to install capabilities to detect attacks from intermediaries, following general cybersecurity techniques can help prevent intrusion. The increased adoption of the HTTPS protocol and the increase in browser warnings have reduced the potential threat of some MitM attacks. Additionally, using a virtual private network (VPN) can mask your IP address by passing it through a private server. A “man in the middle” (MITM) attack is a general term used when an author positions himself in a conversation between a user and an application, either to eavesdrop or to impersonate one of the parties, giving the impression that a normal exchange of information is taking place. But if the attacker is lucky, the victim will unknowingly visit their online banking portal and hand over their account information.

Prevention is better than trying to remedy after an attack, especially if it's so hard to detect. Instead of exploiting a vulnerability in an existing Wi-Fi connection, attackers could create their own Internet access point and give it a discreet name, such as “Café Wi-Fi”.In general terms, a MITM attack is equivalent to a mailman opening your bank statement, writing down your account details, and then resealing the envelope and delivering it to your door. This involves intercepting packets and altering their address to direct the victim to the less secure HTTP equivalent. The first step intercepts user traffic across the attacker's network before it reaches its intended destination.

The good news is that if you can recognize the signs of a phishing scam, you can protect yourself from any technique that attackers use.

Jacquelyn Hamling
Jacquelyn Hamling

Passionate travel junkie. Proud beer lover. Passionate coffee evangelist. Evil tvaholic. Hipster-friendly music ninja. Extreme travel scholar.