Remote-access Guide

remote access attack techniques

by Stanton Wiegand Published 2 years ago Updated 1 year ago

Common remote access attacks An attacker could breach a system via remote access by: Scanning the Internet for vulnerable IP addresses. Running a password-cracking tool. Simulating a remote access session with cracked username and password information.

Intensify security to avoid remote access attacks
  • Restrict access to sensitive data. ...
  • Change your default username. ...
  • Do not enable Guest accounts. ...
  • Protect systems against known malware. ...
  • Lockout hackers. ...
  • Use two-factor authentication. ...
  • Implement vulnerability scanning.

Full Answer

What is an example of a remote access attack?

But that utility is vulnerable to remote access attacks. For example, hackers use this to gain access to merchant systems in order to install malware.

What is remote access hacking and how does it work?

These remote hackers take advantage of remote working technologies like video conferencing tools, enterprise VPNs, and other remote access solutions that have become popular during the COVID-19 crisis. Here are ways bad actors can use remote access hacking opportunities to hack into remote access tools, steal sensitive data, and disrupt businesses.

What are remote access tools and how are they used?

Remote access tools may be established and used post-compromise as alternate communications channel for redundant access or as a way to establish an interactive remote desktop session with the target system. They may also be used as a component of malware to establish a reverse connection or back-connect to a service or adversary controlled system.

How to protect your Remote Desktop Connection from attacks?

Here are six tips that will help fend off attacks exploiting the Remote Desktop connection. 1. Use group policies to specify application allow lists and block lists. This still leaves some loopholes for arbitrary code execution, though.


What are remote access attacks?

A remote attack is a malicious action that targets one or a network of computers. The remote attack does not affect the computer the attacker is using. Instead, the attacker will find vulnerable points in a computer or network's security software to access the machine or system.

What are the remote access methods?

The primary remote access protocols in use today are the Serial Line Internet Protocol (SLIP), Point-to-Point Protocol (PPP), Point-to-Point Protocol over Ethernet (PPPoE), Point-to-Point Tunneling Protocol (PPTP), Remote Access Services (RAS), and Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP).

What are three types of access attacks?

The four types of access attacks are password attacks, trust exploitation, port redirection, and man-in-the-middle attacks.

How do hackers hack remotely?

Remote hackers use various malware deployment methods; the most common (and probably the easiest) way for hackers to reach unsuspecting victims is through phishing campaigns. In this scenario, hackers will send emails with links or files, which unsuspecting recipients may click on.

What are the types of remote?

In today's electronic market, there are three primary types of remote control systems available to consumers, IR based systems, RD based systems and BT based systems. IR stands for Infrared. Means the remote must be pointed directly at the receiver.

What are three examples of remote access locations?

What Is Remote Access?Queens College.Harvard University Extension School.

What are the 5 types of cyber security?

Cybersecurity can be categorized into five distinct types:Critical infrastructure security.Application security.Network security.Cloud security.Internet of Things (IoT) security.

What are different types of attacks?

Types of Cyber AttacksMalware Attack. This is one of the most common types of cyberattacks. ... Phishing Attack. Phishing attacks are one of the most prominent widespread types of cyberattacks. ... Password Attack. ... Man-in-the-Middle Attack. ... SQL Injection Attack. ... Denial-of-Service Attack. ... Insider Threat. ... Cryptojacking.More items...•

What is attacks and its types?

There are two main types of network attacks: passive and active. In passive network attacks, malicious parties gain unauthorized access to networks, monitor, and steal private data without making any alterations. Active network attacks involve modifying, encrypting, or damaging data.

Can remote access be hacked?

Remote desktop hacks become a common way for hackers to access valuable password and system information on networks that rely on RDP to function. Malicious actors are constantly developing more and more creative ways to access private data and secure information that they can use as leverage for ransom payments.

How can I remotely access someone else's computer?

Access a computer remotelyOn your computer, open Chrome.In the address bar at the top, enter , and press Enter.Click Access to select which computer you want.Enter the PIN required to access another computer.Select the arrow to connect.

Can someone remotely access my phone?

Yes. Unfortunately, they can even hack a phone's camera. But you can also learn how to block hackers from your Android or iOS phone. The first step is understanding how cybercriminals think and work.

How can I remotely access my computer?

Use Remote Desktop to connect to the PC you set up: On your local Windows PC: In the search box on the taskbar, type Remote Desktop Connection, and then select Remote Desktop Connection. In Remote Desktop Connection, type the name of the PC you want to connect to (from Step 1), and then select Connect.

What is remote server access?

A remote access server (RAS) is a type of server that provides a suite of services to remotely connected users over a network or the Internet. It operates as a remote gateway or central server that connects remote users with an organization's internal local area network (LAN).

What are the most common remote access methods?

Some of the more commonly used methods for remote access include VPN, RDS, and VNC. Each may have their proper uses, but each can present dire security risks when stretched beyond their narrow use cases. While admins have a ton of tools to choose from, they need to make the right choices based how their enterprise is architected, and the specific use cases that must be supported.

What happens in scenario 2 of Remote Desktop?

The second attempt to connect will close the first connection, and an error message will appear on the screen. Clicking on the “Help” button on this notification will bring up Internet Explorer on the server, which will allow the criminal to access the File Explorer.

What is the RDS vulnerability?

RDS, though widely used, has some particularly dangerous published vulnerabilities. Here’s a quick summary of some of the RDS vulnerabilities that Microsoft has recently announced: CVE-2019-0787. This vulnerability can be a source of issues for users who connect to a compromised server.

What is a remote desktop gateway?

When attempting to access a Remote Desktop Gateway , the adversary will most likely encounter a kind of restricted environment. An application is launched on the terminal server as part of establishing the connection. It can be a Remote Desktop Protocol connection window for local resources, the File Explorer (formerly known as Windows Explorer), office packets, or any other software.

What is the attacker's goal?

The attacker’s goal is to access the command execution routine so that he can launch CMD or PowerShell scripts. Several classic techniques for escaping the Windows sandbox could help in this regard. Let’s dwell on these tricks.

What does the address bar do in File Explorer?

Once the File Explorer is opened, its address bar enables launching allowed executables and can also display the file system hierarchy. This may be useful for the attacker in case the system drives are hidden and therefore cannot be accessed directly.

What is the common denominator of a file explorer attack?

The common denominator is that the malefactor accesses the File Explorer at the early stage of the attack. Numerous third-party applications use the native Windows file management tools, and similar techniques can be applied as long as these apps are operating in a restricted environment.

What are some examples of ICMP attacks?

Typical examples of an ICMP attack are ping flood, ICMP_ECHO flood and smurf attack s. Computers exposed to an ICMP attack will experience significantly slower performance in applications that use the Internet and have problems connecting to the Internet.

What is a DoS attack?

DoS, or Denial of Service, is an attempt to make a computer or network unavailable for its intended users. DoS attacks obstruct communications between affected users, preventing them from continuing in a functional way. One common method of attack involves saturating the target machine with external communications requests, so that the target machine cannot respond to legitimate traffic, or responds so slowly as to be rendered effectively unavailable. Such attacks usually lead to a server overload. Computers exposed to DoS attacks usually need to be restarted in order to work properly.

What is TCP desynchronization?

It is triggered by a process in which the sequential number in incoming packets differs from the expected sequential number. Packets with an unexpected sequential number are dismissed (or saved in buffer storage if they are present in the current communication window).

What port does SMB relay use?

SMBRelay receives a connection on UDP port 139 and 445, relays the packets exchanged by the client and server, and modifies them. After connecting and authenticating, the client is disconnected. SMBRelay creates a new virtual IP address. The new address can be accessed using the command “net use“. The address can then be used by any of the Windows networking functions. SMBRelay relays SMB protocol communication except for negotiation and authentication. Remote attackers can use the IP address as long as the client computer is connected.

What is TCP hacking?

TCP Hijacking attacks aim to interrupt server-client, or peer-to-peer communications. Many attacks can be avoided by using authentication for each TCP segment. It is also advised to use the recommended configurations for your network devices.

Why do hackers use port scanning?

Still, port scanning is often used by hackers attempting to compromise security. Their first step is to send packets to each port. Depending on the response type, it is possible to determine which ports are in use. The scanning itself causes no damage, but be aware that this activity can reveal potential vulnerabilities and allow attackers to take control of remote computers.

What is the target of a DoS attack?

The targets of DoS attacks are web servers and the aim is to make them unavailable to users for a certain period of time.

What is remote access?

Remote access tools may be established and used post-compromise as alternate communications channel for redundant access or as a way to establish an interactive remote desktop session with the target system. They may also be used as a component of malware to establish a reverse connection or back-connect to a service or adversary controlled system.

What software can an adversary use?

An adversary may use legitimate desktop support and remote access software, such as Team Viewer, Go2Assist, LogMein, AmmyyAdmin, etc, to establish an interactive command and control channel to target systems within networks. These services are commonly used as legitimate technical support software, and may be allowed by application control within ...

What programs does Carbanak use?

Carbanak used legitimate programs such as AmmyyAdmin and Team Viewer for remote interactive C2 to target systems. [5]

What is the purpose of firewalls, application firewalls, and proxies?

Properly configure firewalls, application firewalls, and proxies to limit outgoing traffic to sites and services used by remote access tools.

Why do we use domain fronting?

Domain Fronting may be used in conjunction to avoid defenses. Adversaries will likely need to deploy and/or install these remote tools to compromised systems. It may be possible to detect or prevent the installation of these tools with host-based solutions.

What module can RTM download?

RTM has the capability to download a VNC module from command and control (C2). [21]

What are remote hackers?

With the rise of a remote working population, “remote hackers” have been re-emerging as well. These remote hackers take advantage of remote working technologies like video conferencing tools, enterprise VPNs, and other remote access solutions that have become popular during the COVID-19 crisis.

How do remote hackers reach unsuspecting victims?

Remote hackers use various malware deployment methods; the most common (and probably the easiest) way for hackers to reach unsuspecting victims is through phishing campaigns.

What are hackers exploiting?

While hackers are exploiting the vulnerabilities found in actual solutions like business VPNs and RDP to gain access to the company network, they are using traditional tactics to target remote employees.

Why do VPNs run 24/7?

VPNs run 24/7, which means organizations are less likely to check for and apply security patches on a regular basis. This also makes VPNs vulnerable and susceptible to attacks by hackers. For instance, hackers may start a phishing campaign to target remote employees in order to steal their usernames and passwords that gives them access to the VPN, and by extension, your network.

Why are automated bots important?

In the wake of the coronavirus outbreak, companies in industries like healthcare are tapping into the power of automated bots to help identify vulnerable patients and screen employees. While bots have their evident merits, hackers can also harness the power of automated bots for malicious purposes.

How long does it take for a bot to scan a network?

The scary part is that even novice hackers can easily use automated bots programs to wreak havoc. In just 15 seconds, a bot can also scan the network to which the server is connected, find the login credentials of vulnerable machines, and create new user accounts for hackers to use.

Why are video conferencing tools vulnerable?

Video conferencing tools remain vulnerable because virtual meetings sometimes only require an invitation link and ID, but not a password. Users may also be too lazy to update security patches to the latest version, which can make using these tools vulnerable to unwanted intrusions.

4 Common Types of Remote Attacks

A remote attack refers to a malicious attack that targets one or more computers on a network. Remote hackers look for vulnerable points in a network’s security to remotely compromise systems, steal data, and cause many other kinds of problems. Some of the most types of remote attacks are:

1. Domain Name System (DNS) Poisoning

The DNS server is tricked into accepting falsified traffic as authentic. Users are then redirected to fake websites where they unknowingly download malicious content like viruses which the attackers exploit further to steal data or compromise systems.

2. Port Scanning

Hackers use port scanning software to find open ports on a network host. To do this, they send packets to each port and determine which ports are open based on the response type. While the scanning itself does not cause damage, threat actors do utilize this method to exploit potential vulnerabilities on the network, and then gain access to it.

3. Password Spraying

Attackers will identify a large number of usernames (accounts), and attempt to guess the passwords for those accounts to gain unauthorized access. They usually use a single commonly-used password in a particular timed interval, e.g., one password a week, to remain undetected and avoid account lockouts.

4. Phishing

Phishing is one of the most commonly-used methods to gain remote access to corporate networks. Bad actors send emails to potential victims containing malicious links or attachments.

How Organizations Can Protect Themselves from Remote Hackers

Here are some ways remote hackers hack into remote access tools to manipulate enterprise systems, steal data, and disrupt businesses.

1. Virtual Private Network (VPN) Attacks

The problem: Many organizations rely on VPNs to enable remote access for employees. But not all VPNs provide end-to-end encryption, and many still rely on weak or outdated encryption. Remote hackers exploit these weaknesses to compromise enterprise systems.


In this 5 part series we will be showing ways that attackers gain internal access by attacking services that companies commonly expose to the internet to facilitate remote work. We will highlight the following 5 of scenarios:

Gaining a Foothold from the Outside

Initial enumeration shows an RD Web Access portal exposed (Remote Desktop Servieces, or RDS). RDS can be utilized to provide users with remote access to an entire desktop or just specific applications and programs required for their day-to-day work. RDS is server-based and allows for multiple users to access the same system at the same time.

RDS & AppLocker Breakout

AppLocker advances the application control features and functionality of Software Restriction Policies. AppLocker allows us to create rules to allow or deny applications from running based on unique identities of files and to specify which users or groups can run those applications.

Defeating Windows Defender

We now have a working PowerShell runspace but attempting to enumerate the domain with a tool such as PowerView shows that Windows Defender AMSI is blocking us from loading it into memory.

Finding Potential Attack Paths

Once AMSI has been taken care of it is time to look for paths for vertical/lateral privilege escalation within the domain. A quick check against our current user shows that that they are in the RDP Users group for a domain-joined workstation.

Privilege Escalation

The user james_dean is not in the local administrators group but the host is vulnerable to CVE-2020–0796 which is a recent Windows SMBv3 local privilege escalation exploit (a memory corruption vulnerability in the Windows 10 SMB server). Technical analysis of the vulnerability can be found here.

Enumerating Domain Trusts

Further enumeration shows a bidirectional trust with the elysium.local forest. There are a variety of attacks that can be attempted across forest trusts such as Kerberoasting, SID History abuse, and more.

How can an adversary manipulate an account?

Adversaries may manipulate accounts to maintain access to victim systems. Account manipulation may consist of any action that preserves adversary access to a compromised account, such as modifying credentials or permission groups. These actions could also include account activity designed to subvert security policies, such as performing iterative password updates to bypass password duration policies and preserve the life of compromised credentials. In order to create or manipulate accounts, the adversary must already have sufficient permissions on systems or the domain.

How do adversaries communicate?

Adversaries may communicate using application layer protocols associated with transferring files to avoid detection/network filtering by blending in with existing traffic. Commands to the remote system, and often the results of those commands, will be embedded within the protocol traffic between the client and server.

Why do adversaries want to get a list of local accounts?

This information can help adversaries determine which local accounts exist on a system to aid in follow-on behavior.

Why do we use access tokens?

Windows uses access tokens to determine the ownership of a running process. A user can manipulate access tokens to make a running process appear as though it is the child of a different process or belongs to someone other than the user that started the process. When this occurs, the process also takes on the security context associated with the new token.

How do aversaries interrupt availability?

Adversaries may interrupt availability of system and network resources by inhibiting access to accounts utilized by legitimate users. Accounts may be deleted, locked, or manipulated (ex: changed credentials) to remove access to accounts.

What is remote desktop?

Remote desktop is a common feature in operating systems. It allows a user to log into an interactive session with a system desktop graphical user interface on a remote system. Microsoft refers to its implementation of the Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP) as Remote Desktop Services (RDS).

Where is the authorized_keys file?

Adversaries may modify the SSH authorized_keys file to maintain persistence on a victim host. Linux distributions and macOS commonly use key-based authentication to secure the authentication process of SSH sessions for remote management. The authorized_keys file in SSH specifies the SSH keys that can be used for logging into the user account for which the file is configured. This file is usually found in the user's home directory under <user-home>/.ssh/authorized_keys. Users may edit the system’s SSH config file to modify the directives PubkeyAuthentication and RSAAuthentication to the value "yes" to ensure public key and RSA authentication are enabled. The SSH config file is usually located under /etc/ssh/sshd_config .

How do I get into a MitM attack?

Two common points of entry for MitM attacks are; via an unsecure public WiFi and by installing software to a breached device so the attacker can access all of the victim’s data.

Where are techniques for exploiting such vulnerabilities often bought and sold?

Techniques for exploiting such vulnerabilities are often bought and sold on the dark web.

How does malware spread?

Malware can spread across a network using a variety of physical and virtual means. Malicious software can be delivered into a system via a USB drive or can be spread via the internet with ‘drive-by’ downloads that automatically download the malicious programs to the system without the user’s knowledge.

Why is phishing a common weapon of choice?

Phishing attacks are a common weapon of choice as they rely on human impulse and curiosity, and the human action is the most difficult part of cyber security to manage.

What is phishing email?

Phishing is a type of ‘social engineering’ by which a cyber-criminal creates an email to fool a recipient into taking some action resulting in harmful consequences. For example, they could be tricked into downloading malware that’s disguised as an important attachment or urged to click on a link to a fake website where they’ll be asked for sensitive information.

Why did Microsoft breach the database?

In December 2019 Microsoft disclosed a data breach due to a change made to the database’s network security group which contained misconfigured security rules that enabled exposure of the data.

Why are there dozens of breaches related to misconfiguration?

The oversights are often the result of well-intentioned developers rushing to get the product to market, or they are unfamiliar with secure configuration of the services that they are using. Avoiding misconfigurations isn’t easier, but procedures to audit and automate a secure configuration are a good start.

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