What is Session Hijacking?

Website owners are increasingly becoming aware of the security of their websites. To serve the purpose multiple security applications have stepped into the market. They serve various methods and techniques to protect your web script and to keep it protected from various possible hacking methods. Due to an increase in the number of security applications, application vulnerabilities have stepped in taking the advantage of the situation too!!!

What is a Session?

A computer can communicate with a website through the source of Transmission Control Protocol (TCP) or Internet Protocol (IP). Limitations to TCP can be a reason for the attack. In the hope to lower the attacks, many layers are added on TCP or IP before they reach the core files of the web script. A session is the time of communication between two systems. The information entered during this communication, from login to logout, is stored according to the cookie setting. The cookies store useful information for future use.

What is Session Hijacking?

Session Hijacking is the time when a hacker sneaks in unnoticeably and can keep an eye on your session. The session is marked with a cookie which is reported back to the server. If a hacker can obtain this cookie, the session ID or session key is at risk. With the help of session ID, the hacker can use the information to put in his browser which is marked as genuine by the server.

High-end corporations use these cookies smartly to keep themselves protected. Their single sign-on system (SSO) helps to collect information from multiple authenticate users at a single time. A successful hijacking system can acquire information from all of the connected accounts as well as the connected applications. When access to all of the accounts is gained it becomes difficult for the server to identify the original one and permit all activities.

Due to full access to SSO hackers have a huge chunk of data. The data might include Personally Identifiable Information (PII), sensitive company details, and many other types of information. With the help of such useful and sensitive information, the hacker can completely ruin a website or web script. Therefore, ceasing the application vulnerabilities before they occur can help a lot to lower session hijacking and the damages caused due to it.

Vulnerabilities used while Performing Session Hijacking Attacks

The use of advanced session hijacking techniques and enormous knowledge of programming can help a hacker exploit a certain account or information. Hackers use the exact pathway to gain access to information. Let us have a look at the types of vulnerabilities used that prove to be helpful for hackers during a session hijacking:

  1. Cross-Site Scripting Vulnerabilities (XSS)

Hackers lookout for XSS vulnerabilities to inject client-side scripts. Normally JavaScript is used and embedded into web pages. The newly written script is read by the browser while loading a faulty page. If the security application tools are inefficient then the hackers can gain sensitive information through the page loaded.

  1. Session Side-Jacking Vulnerabilities

Packet sniffing is used by hackers to keep an eye on network activity. The hackers immediately need to be active the moment the session starts. It proves to be harmful to websites using Security Socket Layer (SSL) encryption for logging. An insecure WiFi hotspot is the best area for a Session Side-Jacking attack.

  1. Session Fixation Vulnerabilities

The creation of malicious links to lead to a malicious page is known as Session Fixation Attack. By clicking such links hackers gain access to the session key leading them to a vulnerable server.

  1. Malware Installation Vulnerabilities

Clicking on a malicious link the system immediately starts downloading the malicious software. Hackers with the help of their skills gain access to an application’s vulnerability with the help of such malicious links. Once the software is downloaded actions like scanning of web-based traffic, hunting for session cookies, and access to local storage begins.

Tips to Prevent Session Hijacking

  • Use HTTP Headers to tighten up security
  • HTTP to HTTPS redirects
  • Embedding runtime application self-protection
  • Modify caching

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