Exploit (computer security)
An exploit (from the English verb to exploit, meaning "to use something to one’s own advantage") is a piece of
There are several methods of classifying exploits. The most common is by how the exploit communicates to the vulnerable software.
A remote exploit works over a network and exploits the security vulnerability without any prior access to the vulnerable system.
A local exploit requires prior access to 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.
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 provide superuser-level access to a computer system. However, it is also possible to use several exploits, first to gain low-level access, then to escalate privileges repeatedly until one reaches the highest administrative level (often called "root").
After an exploit is made known to 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
Exploits unknown to everyone but the people that found and developed them are referred to as
Exploitations are commonly categorized and named by the type of vulnerability they exploit (see
Pivoting refers to a method used by
Pivoting can further be distinguished into
VPN pivoting enables the attacker to create an encrypted layer to tunnel into the compromised machine to route any network traffic through that target machine, for example, to run 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
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 find other devices connected to attack them. By attacking a vulnerable piece of networking, an attacker could infect most or all of a network and gain complete control.