Active Attack

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What Does Active Attack Mean?

An active attack, in computing security, is an attack characterized by the attacker attempting to break into the system. During an active attack, the intruder may introduce data into the system as well as potentially change data within the system.


Techopedia Explains Active Attack

An active attack is what is commonly thought of when referring to "hacking." In an active attack, the attacker attempts to alter or control data and/or the hardware it resides on. This is in contrast to a passive attack, in which the intruder may listen in on communications or monitor other aspects of the network or its devices.

Types of active attacks include:

  • Denial of service (DoS)
  • Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS)
  • Session replay
  • Masquerade
  • Message modification
  • Trojans

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Margaret Rouse
Senior Editor
Margaret Rouse
Senior Editor

Margaret is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical business audience. Over the past twenty years, her IT definitions have been published by Que in an encyclopedia of technology terms and cited in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine, and Discovery Magazine. She joined Techopedia in 2011. Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages.