Top 9 Common Hacking Techniques: A Thorough 2023 Update

Common Hacking Techniques:

Believability and simplicity are what hacking is all about—from pretending to be someone’s bank, impersonating antiviruses, to alerting you of a non-existent threat, hackers get crafty when they want to steal your valuable personal data.

Keeping up-to-date is the best way to protect yourself, so read up below on what the most common hacking techniques are, why people fall for them, and how to stay safe.

The Nine Hackiest Hacking Tricks of All Time

1. Phishing is the most hackneyed hacking technique out there.

A black hat poses as a trustworthy organisation or person to trick you into clicking a link sent via email or text. It was the most common cybersecurity threat in Australia in 2020, with more than 44,000 reported incidents.

There are several types of URL phishing:

  • Clone phishing—replicating an actual email sent to you and adding an attachment containing malicious software.
  • Bulk phishing—the most common type—involves mass emails offering huge financial gain possibilities, lottery tickets, free trips, refunds, etc.
  • Spear phishing—targeted attacks disguised as emails from a colleague, friend, or boss.
  • Email phishing—pretending to be popular legitimate companies in order to steal your login details.

How it works: Spoofing a legit website or individual, phishing attacks will ask you to enter your credentials or wire them money and then steal them. Alternatively, clicking the fake link will download malware onto your device.

How to avoid it: 

  • Steer clear of the spam folder unless an email you’re expecting landed there by accident.
  • Don’t click on links without reading their wording closely—usually, the sender and the URL won’t match if it’s a phishing attack.
  • Educate yourself and your employees about phishing and email fraud threats.

2. Bait-and-switch

One of the laziest types of hacking, in which a hacker uses ads on legitimate websites to install malware on your device or take you to malicious ones.

How it works: Browsing on a secure and legitimate webpage and accidentally clicking on an ad (the bait) instals malware (the switch), locking your browser, clickjacking, or even possibly redirecting you to other fake websites. This grants the hacker access to your device and data.

How to avoid it:

  • Avoid clicking on ads—if you see something that piques your interest, try Googling it instead.
  • Always have an ad blocker plugin installed and running.
  • Use the Safe/Secure Browser mode made available by your antivirus software.

3. Keylogger attack

It is a hacking technique that employs legal keylogger/keystroke software or hardware that records keyboard strokes. Formbook is the most popular InfoStealing software on the Aussie market, accounting for 3% of all such reported cyber incidents.

How it works: A keylogger can either be a programme (log file) recording key sequences and strokes, or a device, targeting keyboards, smartphone sensors, capturing electromagnetic emissions, etc. In this way, your sensitive data and passwords can easily be recorded without your knowledge or consent.

How to avoid it: 

  • Use keylogger detection—choose an antivirus that includes this type of protection, as well as a password manager.
  • Use secure connections and VPNs.
  • Enable two-step verification whenever possible.

4. DoS/DDoS (denial of service) attack

It is a common crashing hacking threat, attacking a server/device/webpage to bring it down.

It’s an organised attack, usually targeting larger businesses and servers to try to take down their online services. Oz was the second most targeted country in such attacks in 2020; however, in 2021, their frequency halved.

How it works: The hackers use a botnet or a zombie computer that has one task only—to permanently enable all the functions and respond to the requests made on the targeted machine or server.

A fraction of the attacked online bandwidth is used as a further call to participate in hacker attacks, which is the main reason DDoS attacks grow exponentially.

How to avoid it: 

  • Regularly apply IT security patches to your webpage.
  • Harden DNS servers against DDoS attacks.
  • Use a CDN/DDoS mitigation provider for your online services.
  • Implement network filters that limit the access to traffic on your origin servers.
  • Be cautious not to allow the address of your origin servers to easily leak online.
  • Consider reflecting part or all of your DNS infrastructure with DDoS resilient DNS providers.

5. Clickjacking attacks

A common hacks, also known as UI redress, in which hackers hide the UI the victim is supposed to click.

How it works: The hacker hijacks the victim’s clicks from the page they should be going to, redirecting them to a different one without their knowledge or consent. Hijacked clicks mostly lead to ads on a hacker’s website, earning them advertising revenue, but they’re also used in malicious link manipulation to install malware and steal data.

How to avoid it:

  • Implement frame-busting techniques by adding a few lines in JavaScript in the head section of the vulnerable website’s page.
  • Ask the browser to block any attempt to load your website within an I-frame (X-frame HTTP Header options).
  • Use specific Content Security Policy (CSP) directives.
  • Leverage the sameSite plugin property of cookies.

6. Cookie theft is a very common cybercrime.

Cookies are treats for hackers because they contain valuable information on every site the user has logged into with credentials: passwords, usernames, and emails.

How it works: The official name of cookie theft is Side Hijacking/Session Hijacking because the hacker can impersonate a user on a browser by manipulating their IP packs to run through the black hat’s device and capture valuable personal info, such as passwords.

How to avoid it: 

  • Use encrypted SSL (HTTPS) connections—especially on banking and shopping sites. An SSL certificate can often be obtained for free.
  • Update security patches as they become available.
  • Use Secure Attribute for cookies to keep them confidential and private.
  • Install security plugins (such as MalCare) on your WordPress site.
  • Harden your website—block PHP execution in unknown folders and disable File Editor in Themes and Plugins.
  • Clear your browser cookies.

7. Fake WAP (Wireless Access Point)

It is one of the easiest hacking examples, where the hacker mimics and fakes an entire WAP and tricks you into wiring onto a fake network, accessing your private data and passwords.

How it works: Renaming the Access Point into a credential name, like, say, Brisbane Airport or Pitt Street Mall, a hacker or even a high schooler can easily monitor all internet activity on the devices connected to that network, intercept personal data, and collect it for malicious use.

How to prevent it:

  • Use secure VPN connections.
  • Avoid public networks unless in an emergency.
  • Always clear your browsing history and cookies after a public session.
  • Use encryption tools.

8. A Man in The Middle (MITM) attack

It is an advanced form of eavesdropping. The hacker inserts themselves invisibly into unsecured browsing on public Wi-Fi networks to intercept the traffic on both ends, interfere with it, and harvest the data.

The three most common types of MITM attacks include Wi-Fi interference, email hijacking and session hijacking.

How it works: Hackers can intercept information and personal data or redirect messages and transactions to their own accounts, and you likely won’t even know it.

How to avoid it:

  • Use strong encryption tools provided by your antivirus software.
  • Use secure VPN connections.
  • Change passwords frequently.
  • Delete your cookies so that your passwords and usernames won’t get stored online even if you get intercepted.
  • Use SSL (Secure Socket Layer) technology for encryption.
  • Make sure to always use endpoint security on your company’s servers.
  • Enable MFA (Multi-Factor Authentication) on websites whenever possible so that even if your first step gets intercepted, the hacker probably won’t be able to answer and intercept your SMS or email at the same time.

9. Viruses and Trojans

It can either be used as malware for hacking or be the malware that gets inserted with the hack attack.

How it works: Viruses and Trojans can even be snuck in through mobile hacking techniques since they can attack every OS.

Once you have such programmes on your device, a dozen or so options are available to the hacker: locking your browser, asking for a ransom to release your data and files, or simply copying all your data and impersonating you for financial gain.

Trickbot and Mespinoza were the most commonly found Trojans in Australia in 2021, delivered via spam campaigns and used to blackmail the victims.

How to avoid it:

How to Keep Yourself And Your Business Safe from Hackers

Although it’s basically like playing Whack-A-Mole, since hackers get more inventive by the day as more software and apps get released, the first rule of staying protected is keeping updated! These are your best bets:

  • Install strong antivirus software that serves the needs of your device or network.
  • Do regular scanning for cyberthreats.
  • Make sure to install updates on your OS and apps as they become available—delaying makes you vulnerable.
  • Use strong passwords (a combination of uppercase and lowercase letters, symbols and numbers will do the trick).
  • Change your password frequently—preferably every 30-90 days.
  • Never use the same password on multiple accounts.
  • If possible, always use two-step verification.
  • Always back up your data in safe, remote locations.
  • Avoid suspicious emails.
  • Practice safe browsing and use an unlimited VPN if possible to keep yourself untraceable online.
  • Use additional encryption and firewall settings.
  • Purchase a strong package of endpoint security for your business and home.
  • Organise cybersecurity education seminars and keep your employees’ network frequently updated on the latest hacking techniques and threats.

A Few Final Lines

While keeping on top of all possible threats may feel daunting at first, awareness and a few simple tools can keep you reasonably safe online. An unlimited VPN and endpoint security, including password managers and SSL encryption licences, are just the weapons you need to defend yourself against the most common hacking techniques.


1. What softwares do hackers use?

Some of the most used software for hacking is NMap Open SSH, WireShark, Nessus, John the Ripper, and simply Google.

2. What is the most powerful hacking technique?

Phishing attacks are the most commonly used hacking technique because they often rely on social engineering. They use trustworthy-seeming communications for malicious purposes and to potentially install malware, ransomware, and spyware.

3. What techniques do hackers use?

Different types of hackers use different techniques to attack the network, server, the device you’re using, and so forth—a hacker has many common hacking techniques available. They usually use WordPress tools, special software and code, or intercept communication over unprotected Wi-Fi connections.

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