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4 Examples of a Passive Attack

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A passive attack is an information security event or incident based on monitoring or scanning communications, information flows or systems. In some cases, passive attacks are difficult to detect because they simply monitor as opposed to trying to break into a system. The following are illustrative examples.


Monitoring unencrypted communications such as emails or telephone calls.


Intercepting encrypted information flows and trying to break the encryption.


Scanning a device connected to the internet for vulnerabilities such as open ports or a weak operating system version.

Traffic Analysis

Monitoring internet traffic to build data such as who is visiting what website.
Overview: Passive Attack
An information security attack that monitors or scans communications, information flows or systems.
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Next: Advanced Persistent Threat
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