What Are Side-Channel Attacks and Why Are They so Dangerous?

January 2022

These days, it seems as though new cyber threats are creeping up constantly. In fact, with so many emerging risks (especially in the wake of the Coronavirus pandemic), it can be difficult to keep up with the dangers lurking around every facet of the web.

Recently, there has been an increase in side-channel attacks. If you’ve never heard of this type of cyber threat, it’s important to educate yourself, as they can pose a huge risk, even to otherwise well-protected entities.

Below, we’re discussing everything you need to know:

What Is a Side-Channel Attack?

A side-channel attack is a highly advanced cyber threat that uses information leaked by cryptography. This could include, for example, monitoring the electromagnetic field (EMF) radiation emitted by a computer screen to view data or even spying on the power consumption of a device to obtain an encryption key. In some cases, these types of cyber-attack can even parse out a user’s password through the analysis of sound emitted from the keyboard alone.

Side-channel attacks can be invasive or non-invasive, as well as active or passive. Regardless of the type, however, all attacks tend to be incredibly sophisticated – and threats can go undetected for a long time. Unfortunately, this gives attackers a lot of time to carry out extensive damage.

Dangers of a Side-Channel Attack

There are many potential dangers that occur when you fall victim to a side-channel attack. Ultimately, the risks will depend on what kind of information the hacker is trying to obtain. Often, side-channel attacks are used to collect log-in information (such as usernames and passwords), resulting in compromised accounts.

Other forms of side-channel attacks may result in data breaches. This is often the case when this hacking method is used to obtain an encryption key; from there, attackers can gain access to sensitive information and use it to their advantage.

How to Avoid a Side-Channel Attack

Falling victim to a side-channel attack can have serious consequences for your organization. The good news? There are steps you can take to protect yourself and your information. Start by ensuring that you have redundant data backups set up for your most sensitive and important information. That way, even if you fall victim to an attack, you’ll have a recent backup of your data saved and won’t deal with extensive loss.

Some other recommended measures to help avoid these attacks include reducing the release of private information and deterring attacks through power line conditioning or filtering.

Ready to Switch to a Dedicated Server?

One of the best ways to keep your data safe, not just from side-channel attacks but from all sorts of cyber threats, is to make sure your hosting plan has plenty of security features built-in. If you don’t already have a dedicated server, now is the time to consider making the switch.

ReliableSite offers an extensive range of dedicated hosting plans to suit your needs, including those with built-in redundancies and data backups for your protection and peace of mind. Contact us today to find out more or to start setting up your dedicated server account!