A man-in-the-middle attack is one where both the client and the server are victims. The attacker sits virtually between both parties and intercepts communications between the two. Therefore, all information passed from one end to the other is accessible to and at the mercy of the attacker. For instance, the attacker could decide to send back a fake reply, deliver a modified message, or manipulate the information for other purposes. How then do you defend against attacks when you’re not even sure whether or not you’re a victim? In this case, the best defense should be a robust offense. You should employ security measures while under the assumption that you are a target for a man-in-the-middle attack.

(1) Network Security

One of the core reasons you should implement this as your first security measure is that it works on all types of man-in-the-middle attacks. Used independently, both VPN and Tor are excellent security tools that excel in their forte. Nevertheless, they both have shortcomings that make it impossible to unlock and utilize their full potential. When using Tor over VPN, you overcome these shortcomings and enjoy the benefits. Tor over VPN provides the best network encryption and privacy courtesy of the VPN and anonymity courtesy of Tor. Minimizing your exposure and securing your data online is one of the best ways to protect against man-in-the-middle attacks.

(2) Encryption

Once you encrypt a system, it is encoded in such a way that only those with an access key can decode the information. When protecting against man-in-the-middle attacks, you need to make use of various types of encryption for comprehensive security coverage. Some of the encryption you should pay attention to include:

End-to-end encryption

End-to-end encryption is primarily a communication encryption system that works best against email hijacking and similar types of man-in-the-middle attacks. The encryption makes it impossible for parties other than the sender and the recipient to read a message. There are scores of email and chat clients with end-to-encryption, so you don’t have personally configure it. However, there’s still a challenge where the attacker might pose as a recipient to receive the key or intercept the authentication message.

Device encryption

Although end-to-end encryption covers the communication channel, there are still security challenges at the endpoints. Device encryption covers endpoint security weaknesses and provides more robust security against man-in-the-middle attacks.

TLS/SSL encryption

TSL/SSL encryption secures HTTP network connection thereby protecting against HTTP interception and web-reliant man-in-the-middle attacks. TSL/SSL encryption makes it much harder to intercept communications between the client and the server.

Wi-Fi encryption

An open Wi-Fi network is pretty an all-you-can-eat buffet invite for hackers and especially regarding Wi-Fi eavesdropping attacks. Wi-Fi encryption is the best way to prevent hackers from access any of the information passing through the network. Even so, you shouldn’t place too much faith in that since Wi-Fi encryption has its flaws.

(3) Malware Protection

Despite having sufficient layers of encryption, you still need to invest in malware protection. Hackers rely on malware for everything, including breaking or bypassing most encryptions. The best way to protect against that is to install an antivirus designed to detect and purge any malware on your device. Most antivirus software also provides additional network security and firewall protection, which should further reinforce your protection against attacks.

The Bottomline

While network security, encryption, and malware protection should prove very useful as security measures against man-in-the-middle attacks, they are not the sole measures you could implement. More to the point, you need to broaden your horizons and seek more in-depth information on this topic. The nature of cyberattacks is that they are ever evolving so today’s security measure could be tomorrow’s stop-gap measure or worse still, a weakness.

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John DeCleene
Whilst having spent a lot of his life in Asia, John DeCleene has lived and studied all over the world - including spells in Hong Kong, Mexico, The U.S. and China. He graduated with a BA in Political Science from Tulane University in 2016. Fluent in English and proficient in Mandarin and Spanish, he can communicate and connect with most of the world’s population too, and this certainly helped John as he gained work experience interning for the U.S.-Taiwan Business counsel in Washington D.C. as an investment analyst and then working alongside U.S. Senator Robert P. Casey of Pennsylvania as a legislative intern. He subsequently worked as a business analyst for a mutual fund in Singapore, where his passion for travel and aptitude for creating connections between opportunities and ideas was the perfect intersection of natural ability and experience, spending his time travelling between Cambodia, Hong Kong, and China investigating and discovering untapped investment opportunities. John is a fund manager for OCIM’s fintech fund, and currently progressing towards becoming a CFA charter holder. He loves to travel for business and pleasure, having visited 38 countries (including North Korea); he represents the new breed of global citizen for the 21st century.


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