What is a Backdoor Attack?

Cybercriminals use numerous ways to take advantage of the vulnerabilities in the operating system or applications to infiltrate the device or network. One such method is using the Backdoor Attack.

In this post, we would discuss what Backdoor Attack is, its types, and how to stay safe from Backdoor Attacks.

What is a Backdoor Attack?

In cybersecurity terms, a Backdoor Attack is an attempt to infiltrate a system or a network by maliciously taking advantage of software's weak point.

Backdoors allow the attackers to quietly get into the system by deceiving the security protocols and gain administrative access. It is similar to the real-life robbery in which burglars take advantage of the loopholes in a house and get a 'backdoor' entry for conducting the theft.

After gaining high-level administrative privilege, the cyber attackers could perform various horrendous tasks like injecting spyware, gaining remote access, hack the device, steal sensitive information, encrypt the system through ransomware, and many more.

Backdoors are originally meant for helping software developers and testers, so they are not always bad.

Types of Backdoor

As mentioned, Backdoors are not always malicious. Here are the two types of Backdoors as per their intentions.

Administrative Backdoor

Sometimes software developers intentionally leave a backdoor into the program so that in case of any failure or error, they can easily reach the core of the software's code and quickly solve the issue. Such Backdoors are called the Administrative Backdoors. These deliberate Backdoors can also help the software testers to testify the codes.

Though such Backdoors are only known to the developers, a skillful hacker can take advantage of it and silently use it for his benefit. So Administrative Backdoor can be called a type of loophole in the program.

Malicious Backdoor

Malicious Backdoors are the backdoors installed on the system by cybercriminals using malware programs like Remote Access Trojan (RAT). These are specifically designed for taking control of the system or network and conduct malicious tasks. RAT is a malware program that can reach the root of the system and install the backdoor. RAT is generally spread through a malicious program.

Why are Backdoors dangerous?

It might be evident by now what havoc a software backdoor can create, even if it is meant for the rightful purposes. Here is the list of the malicious purposes a backdoor can be used for:

  • Backdoor can be a gateway for dangerous malware like trojans, ransomware, spyware, and others. Using backdoor, it becomes easy for the cyberattackers to release the malware programs to the system.

  • Backdoors are the best medium to conduct a DDoS attack in a network.

  • Cryptojackers can use the backdoor to infiltrate your system and conduct crypto mining.

  • Using backdoors, hackers can modify sensitive system settings like Administrative passwords and others.

  • Backdoors can help cyber attackers to use your internet connection remotely for uploading and downloading.

  • Attackers can also install and run some specific applications or tasks with the help of Backdoors.

How to protect your device from Backdoor Attacks?

It is quite challenging to track Backdoor attacks as they are carried out stealthily, so it is better to prevent them from happening on your device. Here are the best preventive measures:

Change the Default Password

If you have newly joined an organization, you might get some accounts for your work. Generally, such accounts are transferred to the new employees with the default password such as 1.23456, qwerty, etc. It is the responsibility of the new account holder to immediately change the default password and set a strong one.

Monitor Network

You must regularly monitor your internet network. Check for irregularities such as a surge in usage, slow browsing, or downloading. A Backdoor can cause such abnormalities as it might use your data for transferring the data to and fro from your device.

Keep Firewall ON

A firewall monitors the incoming and outgoing activities across your network. It is essential to always keep it ON.

Monitor Apps and Extensions Installation

While installing an application, make sure no other program is being installed along with the primary one. The additional program can be malicious and can introduce a backdoor. Similarly, before installing a plugin or web extension, verify its authenticity by seeing its ratings and reviews.