Malware attacks are always changing and evolving to better target victims on the Internet. Watering hole attacks are another form of malware that can disrupt access to your devices. To protect yourself against dangerous malware and watering hole attacks, we need to first answer the question: “What is a watering hole attack?” Learn more about these potentially disastrous targeted attacks below.

What is a Watering Hole Attack?

Watering hole attacks are a form of malware that target specific industries or users on a network. These attacks infect the websites that users normally visit and trick them into navigating to a malicious page. The pages that watering hole attacks redirect to are direct ways for cybercriminals to transfer malware to their victims’ devices. Watering hole attacks occur without the target’s knowledge, in a style known as a “drive-by download attack.” These attacks can appear alongside other techniques, including: 

  • SQL injection
  • Zero-day exploits
  • DNS spoofing
  • XSS injection
  • Malvertising

Let’s give an example of how a watering hole attack might occur. We’ll imagine that employees at a software company regularly use an analytics website to check data several times a day. Cybercriminals targeting this company for a watering hole attack will create a way to spoof the analytics website. This tricks the employees into clicking on a webpage that they believe is perfectly normal. The criminals then deposit malware onto the devices of the employees who click through that fake website. In some other cases, links to these malicious websites are sent out through seemingly believable emails. 

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Signs of a Watering Hole Attack

Dangerous watering hole attacks can appear as fraudulent websites or automatic website emails that look legitimate. These sophisticated attacks can be challenging to identify due to their nature. That means the malware is designed to be difficult to spot. However, there are still ways that you can identify the signs of a watering hole attack, including:  

  • Keylogger software found on devices
  • Believable automatic website emails
  • Strange ads on commonly-used websites
  • Websites are redirecting frequently

Detecting a watering hole attack is not an exact science, but these indications can help you narrow down the possibilities. Now that you are aware of what a water hole attack is and how it can affect you, it’s time to learn how to protect yourself.

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Keeping Yourself Safe from Watering Hole Attacks

Protecting yourself against watering hole attacks involves the implementation of malware analysis systems and other antivirus software. These solutions should check for dangerous behavior on websites that are used most often and present the highest risk. Depending on the size of the attack, cybercriminals may attempt to infect multiple websites. 

Ultimately, it can be hard to defend an entire network against such an attack without reliable and powerful protection. However, using a VPN is also a great way to cover your online activity from cybercriminals who may be looking for it. Plus, your online activity is hidden behind secure servers when you use a VPN. This defends against watering hole attacks by preventing criminals from seeing the sites most commonly accessed on your network. 

Protect Your Online Privacy with PrivadoVPN

Between watering hole attacks and other security threats lurking on the Internet, it’s never been more important to protect your privacy. Using a reliable VPN is a great way to keep yourself safe online. PrivadoVPN makes it easy to protect yourself, and your privacy, from prying eyes. Simply open the app and connect to one of 300+ global servers in just a few taps. Keeping your personal information secure has never been easier with PrivadoVPN. 

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