Glossary

Backdoor

A backdoor is a way to access computer systems, software, or data without having to go through standard authorization and login processes. Although backdoors are sometimes created by developers for building and testing, they are easily exploited by attackers to gain unauthorized access.

Terms related to Backdoor: Exploit, Vulnerability, Cybersecurity, Malware, Encryption, Hackers, Attack Vectors, Penetration Testing, Firewalls, Security Monitoring, Patching.

Backdoors are a major vulnerability in software and systems and tend to occur in one of two ways. Firstly, a DevOps or coding team may create an intended backdoor during development to allow their legitimate access to systems and data. This allows for more rapid integration and updates. Unfortunately, if they forget to close the backdoor and the software becomes available via the internet, hackers can easily find and exploit that vulnerability.

The second way a backdoor may occur is through bugs, mistakes, or other issues in developing computer code. This creates unintended backdoors that vendors and customers are often unaware of until a vulnerability scan identifies the flaw, or systems are attacked. In those cases, the vendor will release a maintenance patch to correct the flawed code and remove the potential exploit.

The most effective ways to identify and remove backdoors include:

  • A rigorous code policy and audit process whereby the removal of legitimate backdoors is part of the change and release management process, prior to pushing code updates to the live environment.
  • Regular vulnerability scanning and penetration testing to identify flaws in code, software, and systems.
  • Rapid maintenance patch deployment and installation, so when a vulnerability is identified, it is patched out quickly.
  • Intrusion detection systems that identify if there are unauthorized users in the system.

Backdoor Resources from Crossmatch