What is an Active Attack in Cybersecurity?

An active attack is characterized by a deliberate attempt on a network or system already in progress, wherein the adversary introduces or modifies data to destabilize its operation. In cybersecurity terminology, when one references a “hack” into a server or computer, they typically allude to the full scope of operations that constitute an “active attack.”

Implementing efficient tools such as continuous attack surface testing is pivotal in the contemporary digital landscape. This meticulous, forward-looking measure consistently uncovers and addresses vulnerabilities, fortifying systems against evolving cyber threats. Notably, perpetrators engaging in active attacks, in contrast to passive ones, exhibit a greater propensity to alter the victim’s system. Information harvested during passive attacks can sometimes catalyze active incursions. Playful attacks are analogous to “hacking,” while passive attacks mirror “surveillance.”

Also Read: How Can Hackers Hack Social Media Accounts?

What Types of Active Attacks Are There?

  • Attack of the Masks

Intruders appear to be genuine computer users to obtain access to the network they are connected to in a masquerade assault. After acquiring usernames and passwords via vulnerability exploitation or evading authentication protocols, hackers launch masquerade attacks.

  • Attacking the Session Replay

A session replay attack occurs when a hacker obtains the login credentials of a genuine user by stealing the session ID. This type of assault, which is also known as a playback attack or a “replay attack,” allows hackers to acquire a target’s credentials so that they may appear to be him or her in network interactions.

  • Modification of the Message

In message tampering, attackers alter the IP addresses of packet headers. As a result, they can change data on a target system to gain access to a network.

  • Denial-of-Service Attack

DoS attacks prevent users from accessing certain parts of a network. To launch a denial-of-service attack, hackers must first overload the target machine with an excessive amount of traffic.

  • Attack on Distributed Denial of Service

It is a distributed DoS attack (DDoS) that directs traffic from a botnet of hacked devices to a target computer.

What Can You Do to Prevent an Ongoing Intrusion?

Here are some of the greatest ways to protect yourself from an ongoing attack:

  • Randomly generate a session key. Session IDs can be generated for a limited period, such as one transaction. To prevent malicious users from resending messages with altered content, random session keys should be employed.
  • Agreements, transactions, and sessions between communication participants can be authenticated by using one-time passwords. Even if an attacker manages to gain a password, this procedure assures that it will expire before it can be used.
  • Any user’s identity may be verified over insecure networks using the Kerberos authentication protocol, which is utilised by Microsoft Windows Active Directory.


It is risky and costly to engage in active assaults. They can also threaten operations and cause process disruptions. A computer or network’s weaknesses make it a prime target for cybercriminals. Preventing assaults is still the best strategy, even if users have access to a wide range of defences.