A covert channel is a stealth communication method used in computer attacks to transfer information objects between processes that are not authorized to communicate. It involves transmitting data in small pieces over existing information channels or networks, making it almost impossible to detect by administrators or users. The objective of a covert channel attack is to steal sensitive information or gain unauthorized access to a system.
Types of Covert Channels
Covert channels are classified into two categories: storage channels and timing channels. Storage channels rely on the transfer of information through storage resources such as RAM, disk, or cache, while timing channels use delays in system operations to signal covert data.
How Covert Channels are Created
Creating a covert channel is a complicated process that requires advanced programming skills and access to the source system. Covert channels are created by using available space in the fill or other parts of network packets to add data without affecting the primary data. As a result, a single packet may contain only a few bits of a covert data stream, making it challenging to detect.
Detection and Prevention of Covert Channels
Detecting a covert channel is incredibly challenging, and traditional security measures such as firewalls or intrusion detection systems may not be enough. Encryption and access control mechanisms can help detect covert channels and prevent unauthorized access. Security professionals use specialized tools to monitor the network for covert channels and prevent data exfiltration.
Covert channels are an increasingly popular weapon of choice for cybercriminals to execute stealth attacks. Understanding how covert channels work, how they are created and their detection and prevention methods can help organizations combat these types of attacks.
What is the purpose of a covert channel?
The purpose of a covert channel is to secretly transfer information objects between processes that are not allowed to communicate, often with malicious intent.
How are covert channels detected?
Covert channels are complex to detect and may require specialized monitoring tools or access control mechanisms to identify. Encryption and other security measures can also help detect covert channels.
What are the types of covert channels?
Covert channels are typically classified into two categories: storage channels and timing channels.
Protect Your Business With Cybersecurity Measures
Prevention is better than cure when it comes to cybersecurity. Start by investing in robust security measures such as firewalls, strong passwords, encryption, and access controls to safeguard your business from cyber threats.