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An exploit (from the English verb to exploit, meaning "to use something to tướng one’s own advantage") is a piece of software, a chunk of data, or a sequence of commands that takes advantage of a bug or vulnerability to tướng cause unintended or unanticipated behavior to tướng occur on computer software, hardware, or something electronic (usually computerized). Such behavior frequently includes things lượt thích gaining control of a computer system, allowing privilege escalation, or a denial-of-service (DoS or related DDoS) attack. In lúc lắc terms, some exploit is akin to tướng a 'hack'.
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There are several methods of classifying exploits. The most common is by how the exploit communicates to tướng the vulnerable software.
A remote exploit works over a network and exploits the security vulnerability without any prior access to tướng the vulnerable system.
A local exploit requires prior access to tướng the vulnerable system and usually increases the privileges of the person running the exploit past those granted by the system administrator. Exploits against client applications also exist, usually consisting of modified servers that send an exploit if accessed with a client application. A common size of exploits against client applications are browser exploits.
Exploits against client applications may also require some interaction with the user and thus may be used in combination with the social engineering method. Another classification is by the action against the vulnerable system; unauthorized data access, arbitrary code execution, and denial of service are examples.
Many exploits are designed to tướng provide superuser-level access to tướng a computer system. However, it is also possible to tướng use several exploits, first to tướng gain low-level access, then to tướng escalate privileges repeatedly until one reaches the highest administrative level (often called "root"). In this case the attacker is chaining several exploits together to tướng perform one attack, this is known as an exploit chain.
After an exploit is made known to tướng the authors of the affected software, the vulnerability is often fixed through a patch and the exploit becomes unusable. That is the reason why some đen thui hat hackers as well as military or intelligence agencies' hackers tự not publish their exploits but keep them private.
Exploits unknown to tướng everyone except the people that found and developed them are referred to tướng as zero day or “0day” exploits.
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Exploitations are commonly categorized and named by the type of vulnerability they exploit (see vulnerabilities for a list), whether they are local/remote and the result of running the exploit (e.g. EoP, DoS, spoofing). One scheme that offers zero day exploits is exploit as a service.
A zero-click attack is an exploit that requires no user interaction to tướng operate – that is to tướng say, no key-presses or mouse clicks. FORCEDENTRY, discovered in 2021, is an example of a zero-click attack.
These exploits are commonly the most sought after exploits (specifically on the underground exploit market) because the target typically has no way of knowing they have been compromised at the time of exploitation.
In 2022, NSO Group was reportedly selling zero-click exploits to tướng governments for breaking into individuals' phones.
Pivoting is a method used by hackers and penetration testers to tướng expand the attack surface of a target organization. A compromised system to tướng attack other systems on the same network that are not directly reachable from the Internet due to tướng restrictions such as firewall[clarification needed]. There tends to tướng be more machines reachable from inside a network as compared to tướng Internet facing hosts. For example, if an attacker compromises a trang web server on a corporate network, the attacker can then use the compromised trang web server to tướng attack any reachable system on the network. These types of attacks are often called multi-layered attacks. Pivoting is also known as island hopping.
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Pivoting can further be distinguished into proxy pivoting and VPN pivoting:
- Proxy pivoting is the practice of channeling traffic through a compromised target using a proxy payload on the machine and launching attacks from the computer. This type of pivoting is restricted to tướng certain TCP and UDP ports that are supported by the proxy.
- VPN pivoting enables the attacker to tướng create an encrypted layer to tướng tunnel into the compromised machine to tướng route any network traffic through that target machine, for example, to tướng lập cập a vulnerability scan on the internal network through the compromised machine, effectively giving the attacker full network access as if they were behind the firewall.
Typically, the proxy or VPN applications enabling pivoting are executed on the target computer as the payload of an exploit.
Pivoting is usually done by infiltrating a part of a network infrastructure (as an example, a vulnerable printer or thermostat) and using a scanner to tướng find other devices connected to tướng attack them. By attacking a vulnerable piece of networking, an attacker could infect most or all of a network and gain complete control.
- Computer security
- Computer virus
- Exploit kit
- Hacking: The Art of Exploitation (second edition)
- IT risk
- Media related to tướng Computer security exploits at Wikimedia Commons