Top 7 threats of automated hacking

The threat of automated hacking is real. As data breaches grow exponentially, you can expect smart algorithms to play their role in cyber criminal activities.

Automation is at the heart of modern business. By automating repetitive functions, for example, companies across industries boost efficiency and time to market. 

So it isn’t a surprise that the Artificial Intelligence (AI) market is forecasted to worth as much as $190 billion by 2025. But unfortunately, hackers have also noticed the benefits of smart algorithms. 

Today, threat actors leverage automation to accelerate and optimize their nefarious activities. This approach has helped them scale up their operations considerably.

In fact, almost all the hacking tools bought, sold, and exchanged on the dark web have some level of automation. This can be attributed to cybercriminals perceiving it to be a viable option to launch more successful attacks that generate more profits.

However, not all are designed to breach enterprise systems. Automation is also the go-to solution to spread deepfakes and disinformation. With the US elections scheduled for this November, you can expect to see more of this as cybercriminals and state actors attempt to cause confusion.

However, for this post, let’s take a look at the threat of automated hacking. According to a recent study conducted by Recorded Future, automated hacking tools are used in the following areas:

1. Banking injects

Banking injects are powerful tools widely available on the dark web. They are often bundled within banking trojans that inject JavaScript or HTML code into processes to redirect customers from legitimate banking websites. In this scenario, the fake websites are designed to steal the banking details entered by the customer. 

These tools are quite expensive and sell for four figures in hacker forums. However, they’re still a hot commodity as the illicit investment can be made many times over with little to no human intervention.

2. Brute force attacks

Brute force attacks and credential stuffing are a common form of automated cyberattacks. It’s achieved by using a list of commonly used or stolen passwords. 

These days, it’s possible to leverage an automated password cracking tool to break into accounts. This is a game-changer for the criminal world as this equals relentless attacks 24/7.

3. Credit card sniffers

Credit card sniffers have been around for a long time. This malware’s designed to steal user data entered into online store checkout pages. This information is then sold on the dark web or used by the attackers themselves.

Most of this malicious process is driven by a JavaScript injection that automatically collects the personal data and sends it to the attacker.

4. Data breaches

On a larger scale, threat actors continue to target enterprise databases for ransomware attacks or to steal information to sell on the dark web. 

As these databases are massive, hackers now use automation to find the most valuable information like credit card details, email addresses, passwords, and other personal information that can be sold, saving time and resources (in other words, boosting their profits).

5. Exploit kits

Several known web-browser vulnerabilities can be exploited before they’re patched. Whenever this is the case, automated exploitation kits help accelerate the process of delivering infections like different forms of malware.

As the whole procedure can be automated by leveraging AI, it’s one of the most popular hacking techniques still used today. 

6. Keyloggers

Cybercriminals now use preconfigured tools such as keyloggers to monitor activity and steal login credentials from popular websites. 

Once the user is infected, for example, through an automated exploit kit, automated keyloggers will work in the background and steal sensitive information whenever it’s entered on popular websites.

7. Spam and phishing

These days, the granddaddy of cybercrime, spam, and phishing campaigns are also automated. It’s one of the simplest hacking techniques that uses social engineering to compromise users and businesses.

These automated tools are relatively cheap and easy to set up. In this scenario, email addresses are generated, and low-level scam messages are sent indiscriminately. 

These tend to be “get rich quick” schemes, gift vouchers, messages from a rich Nigerian prince, or phony locked account notifications. If you have an email account, you have come across one of these (at least once a day). 

Although many users are alert to this technique, it’s still lucrative as it doesn’t take much effort, and all you need is a handful of people to fall for the scam for it to pay off.

Automated marketplaces and Bulletproof Hosting Services (BHS)

Hackers are also using AI and automation in the business side of their criminal activities. The automated marketplaces hosted on BHS now form the foundation of online criminal activity. 

BHS is like a VPN for hosting that masks the location of the domain host. It’s the only reason why dark web forums and marketplaces exist. With the help of automated markets, a single hacker can continue their criminal activities without much effort on the sales side of things.  

BHS providers hide malicious activity from law enforcement to avert shutdowns. With the help of automation techniques (like geo-spoofing), it’s increasingly difficult for law enforcement agencies to pinpoint exactly where the service is hosted or who’s hosting it. 

How do you protect your enterprise infrastructure from the threat of automated hacking?

  • Always adhere to cybersecurity best practices
  • Encrypt sensitive data
  • Engage in regular security training
  • Engage in penetration testing
  • Install the latest patches and updates
  • Use strong passwords
  • Use two-factor authentication

Need help securing your enterprise infrastructure from automated hacking? Request a commitment-free call back now


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