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Tech Management

How Hackers Use Backdoors to Access a Network

Backdoors are a method that hackers use to establish unauthorized access to a network from a remote location.  Hackers use backdoors as a means of gaining repeated access to a network without being logged by the systems administrator.  This type of network intrusion hides its presence while the hacker is actually using the network without the knowledge of others.

How Backdoors Work

Hackers gain access to a network by creating backdoors on compromised systems.  This is accomplished by searching for vulnerabilities in the network such as unused accounts which have passwords that are easy to crack. Once the intruder is in they change the password to a different password that is difficult to break.

When the systems administrator monitors the network, the account where the hacker modified the password does not appear.  This makes it difficult to determine which accounts are unused and should be locked from the network.

Although a backdoor is capable of hiding a hacker’s initial entry from the systems log, the intruder can still continue to access the network despite the fact that the systems administrator has detected unauthorized access in the systems log.  This is especially true if the default passwords created by the manufacturer are left on the system.

A backdoor is used by hackers to install malware for the purpose of stealing information from a network such as company trade secrets or customer financial data.  Backdoors can also be used to launch Denial of Service attacks which can bring down an entire company network. DoS attacks are performed by sending an excessive amount of information packets over a network which results in network failure.

 How Hackers Find Network Vulnerabilities

 In order to create a backdoor on a network the hacker must find the weak points in the system.  The weak points are known as vulnerabilities which are the perfect location for an exploit.  Often these are unused accounts on a network perhaps once used by a former employee that left the company or other type of situation.

Vulnerabilities in a network system can be detected by using specialized software that the hacker activates from a remote location to sniff around the system and identify the weaknesses.  The typical target is unused accounts or services or even accounts that have been disabled.  The hacker can choose one of these components and remove it and then install a new system under the same name.  This helps the hacker’s point of entry to remain anonymous when the systems administrator performs a security inspection of the network.

Once the hacker installs the system to gain access to the network the files are hidden deep in system directories using names that are not conspicuous to a systems administrator.  The same method is used when accessing a port to establish backdoor access. This allows the hacker to escape detection on the systems log when the administrator reviews it.

A backdoor can also provide the hacker with access other components of a network by creating an account that allows system privileges.  An account that has system privileges is similar to your PC administrator account.  It allows you to change passwords and privileges for other accounts and basically have full access to the network and its components.

There are many different types of backdoors but the type that allows the hacker full access is the most hazardous.  Keeping hackers out of network requires careful monitoring of the system and consistent review of the event log that provides a report of events on the network.  A systems administrator that is on top of how network criminals operate and the latest techniques they use will be able to adequately protect the network from intrusion. Allow Thrive Networks to monitor your network and save you from potential intrusions. Contact us today for more information!