A common digital hacking technique is the so called ‘man-in-middle attack’ (MITM). Here’s how it happens:
1. The attacker electronically (and secretly) breaks an existing connection the victim has with another endpoint on the internet – such as with a bank , a co-worker, or an email server.
2. The attacker then creates a new connection which routes all traffic through their device, such as a laptop.
3. Using this new connection they are ‘in the middle’, and can now eavesdrop and download anything being sent between the victim and the servers they connect with.
Because of their nature these attacks are very hard to detect. A successful MITM attack is invisible to the victim, and everything appears normal. But think about what might be at risk – email passwords, private messages, photographs, and more. This is the very attack the NSA used to capture corporate secrets from a reputable technology company in the Netherlands called Gemalto.