Watering hole attacks infect popular webpages with malware to impact many users at a time. It requires careful planning on the attacker’s part to find weaknesses in specific sites. They look for existing vulnerabilities that are not known and patched — such weaknesses are deemed zero-day exploits.


A watering hole attack works by identifying a website that's frequented by users within a targeted organisation, or even an entire sector, such as defence, government or healthcare.That website is then compromised to enable the distribution of malware. The malware may be delivered and installed without the target realising (called a ‘drive by’ attack), but given the trust the target is likely to have in the watering hole site, it can also be a file that a user will consciously download without realising what it really contains. Typically, the malware will be a Remote Access Trojan (RAT), enabling the attacker to gain remote access to the target’s system.

Like a literal watering hole, a watering hole attack is one in which the user's computer is compromised by visiting an infected website with malware designed to infiltrate their network and steal data or financial assets. The specific technique used is normally a zero-day attack - the goal being to infect the computer system with zero-day exploit to gain access to their network for financial gain or proprietary information.









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