What is Session Hijacking

    skycentral.co.uk | What is Session Hijacking

    Understanding Session Hijacking

    Session hijacking is a form of cyber attack where an intruder takes control of a user’s session without their knowledge. This type of attack is particularly concerning because it allows the attacker to access sensitive information and perform malicious activities on the victim’s behalf.

    How Session Hijacking Works

    Session hijacking typically occurs in the following steps:

    • The attacker monitors network traffic to intercept the victim’s session identifier or token.
    • Once the session identifier is obtained, the attacker can use it to impersonate the victim and gain unauthorized access to their account or system.
    • The attacker can then perform activities such as accessing sensitive data, tampering with account settings, or making unauthorized transactions.

    Types of Session Hijacking

    There are several methods that attackers can use to carry out session hijacking:

    • Session fixation: The attacker sets a user’s session identifier before they log in, allowing the attacker to assume control of the session once the user logs in.
    • Session sidejacking: The attacker intercepts the session identifier over an unsecured network, such as public Wi-Fi, to gain unauthorized access.
    • Man-in-the-middle (MITM) attack: The attacker intercepts and alters communication between the user and the server to hijack the session.

    Preventing Session Hijacking

    There are several measures that organizations and individuals can take to protect against session hijacking:

    • Implementing secure communication protocols, such as HTTPS, to encrypt data transmissions and prevent eavesdropping.
    • Regularly updating security patches and software to address vulnerabilities that could be exploited by attackers.
    • Using strong, unique passwords and implementing multi-factor authentication to prevent unauthorized access to accounts.
    • Utilizing secure session management techniques, such as token-based authentication and refreshing session identifiers.


    Session hijacking is a serious security threat that can compromise user privacy and lead to financial losses. By understanding how session hijacking works and implementing effective security measures, individuals and organizations can better protect themselves from this type of cyber attack.