Can Your Law Firm Stop a Man in the Middle Attack?
A man in the middle attack (MITM) allows cybercriminals to view, access, and spy on your activity online, including login information and emails. MITM attacks are difficult to detect and anyone is vulnerable to one, especially when using a public network.
This can be especially concerning for law firms, where lawyers deal with sensitive documentation and information on a daily basis. Having well-rounded cybersecurity can help your law firm stop a man in the middle attack before it even begins.
What Is a Man in the Middle Attack?
A man in the middle attack is a type of cybersecurity breach where an attacker positions themselves between two parties to intercept data being transmitted or communicated. This data interception can happen between two users or a user and an internal or external application.
If the data breach is successful, the attacker can:
- Alter the data or route it to another third party
- Send fraudulent messages pretending to be the other party
- Collect data on your business
- Gain access to business accounts
- Eavesdrop on conversations
How MITM Attacks Happen
There are a few common vulnerabilities that can make a MITM attack more likely. Additionally, hackers tend to rely on common methods to access information and successfully intercept data.
Router spoofing is one of the most common man in the middle attack methods. Router spoofing is when a hacker uses their device (such as a laptop or mobile device) as a WiFi hotspot and then changes the name to be similar to another popular WiFi network.
This is very common in public spaces and office buildings that house multiple law firms and other businesses. Once a user is connected to the spoofed router, the hacker can monitor their traffic and capture login credentials and more sensitive information.
Phishing scams are another common way for MITM attackers to access your data. An attacker may send a fake email address, pretending to be someone else at your company—usually the CEO or someone else in the C-suite or in senior leadership positions.
During a phishing attempt, the attacker will prompt you to change your password or send information along, with hyperlinks to a fake version of your company website. From there, attackers can capture your authentication credentials and then access your information.
Using a fake version of a website is also known as domain name system (DNS) spoofing. A DNS server matches website name requests to IP addresses. A common type of cyber attack is a DNS attack. In a DNS attack, an attacker either compromises or takes advantage of the vulnerabilities in a network’s DNS.
Malware infections can also result in a MITM attack. Hackers can use hardware, web browsers, or a user’s personal computer to access their information if a user has a malware infection. If an attacker installs malicious software onto your computer, then they’ll have access to confidential data. These are completed similarly to router spoofs, but are more remote and can be more difficult to detect until it is too late.
While this is rare, it’s also not unheard of for a disgruntled ex-employee to facilitate a MITM attack. These can be some of the most dangerous MITM attacks since a former employee already knows the ins and outs of your business, so they’ll have an easier time hacking your system or spoofing communications or routers.
How to Stop MITM Attacks
Knowing how to stop MITM attacks before one happens can help you prevent a larger issue from happening. Make sure you follow these cybersecurity practices to help minimize your risk.
- Make sure your employees do not ever use a public network to protect your data
- Have employees use a virtual private network (VPN) for the most secure connections
- Make sure your web browsers are up-to-date, as hackers often take advantage of vulnerabilities in outdated versions
- Use multifactor authentication whenever logging in
- Secure your email with SSL/TLS, which protects emails as you send them
- Educate employees on phishing scams and other forms of malware attacks
- Have an intrusion detection system (IDS) in place
- Log out of sensitive websites, such as online banking websites, as soon as possible so you can prevent session hijacking
If you suspect someone has sent you a fake website and an email may be a phishing attempt, do not click on any links. Only use websites with HTTPS URLs. An HTTPS connection is a secure connection.
Why VPNs Aren’t Enough to Stop MITM Attacks
Using a VPN is just one piece of a larger cybersecurity puzzle when it comes to preventing MITM attacks.
While router spoofing and phishing are common ways MITM attacks are carried out, there are countless other methods that attackers can use, including:
- DNS spoofing
- Route mangling
- Traffic tunneling
- SSL Hijacking
- SSL Stripping
- IP Spoofing
A VPN will help ensure that your law firm is running on a secure network, but it doesn’t mean you’re in the clear unless you implement other security measures.
How to Improve Wi-Fi Security to Stop MITM Attacks
If you’re looking to improve your law firm’s WiFi security to prevent MITM attacks, there are a few simple steps you can take. Some best network security practices include:
- Do not use public Wi-Fi networks
- Change the default login information on your WiFi router
- Select a strong password for your WiFi
- Select a strong password for your router
- Use WPA3 security settings
- Make sure your router software is updated to avoid vulnerabilities
Additionally, have a separate WiFi network for guests visiting your law firm. This way, potential clients don’t have easy access to the same network that your lawyers are using.
Get Help with Your Network Security and Setup
At Converged Technology Group, we offer next-generation firewalls, endpoint security, email and web security, identity management, managed detection response, and more. Our IT professionals have years of experience working with law firms in New York just like yours to help enhance their network security.
We understand the unique needs and challenges of law firms in the Manhattan and Nassau County areas. Contact us today for a free IT assessment.