Types of Hardware Attacks and How To Protect Yourself From Them: Intro

cyber attacks

When it comes to the security of a network, the first that comes to mind for most people is cybersecurity – i.e. the security of the computer’s software. This usually means protecting a network from data breaching, phishing, and ransomware. Such attacks could cost companies millions of dollars in revenue and make a long-lasting stain on their reputation.

Since software security is important, hardware security is frequently overlooked, which leaves the door open for attackers. Hardware attacks are not as common as software attacks, but they can be just as costly – if not more so. This article will discuss the different types of hardware attacks, how they work, and what you can do to protect your systems from them.

Explaining Hardware Security

Regarding how a computer’s infrastructure works, the hardware consists of all the physical components of the system – this includes the motherboard, CPU, hard drive, etc. Hardware security ensures that all of these physical components function properly and are safe from attacks. On the other hand, software security is the protection of the data and programs stored on these hardware components.

The reason why hardware security is often overlooked is that it’s generally more difficult to perform an attack on hardware than it is on software. This is because the hardware is much more difficult to tamper with, so even if an attacker can physically access a system, they would still need specialized knowledge to carry out an attack.

As mentioned above, hardware security is no less important than software security. This is because, if successful, a hardware attack can give an attacker complete control over a system – allowing them to access sensitive data and plant malicious code that cannot be detected or removed by traditional security measures.

Biggest Hardware Threats and Preventing Them

There are a few different types of hardware attacks and threats, which we will discuss in more detail below.

Memory Manipulation

One of the most popular types of hardware attacks is memory manipulation, where an attacker modifies the contents of a system’s memory without the user’s knowledge or permission. This can be done by physically accessing the system and tampering with the chips or by using a malicious program to modify the data stored in the memory.

BIOS Attacks

Another type of hardware attack is a BIOS attack, where an attacker modifies the system’s BIOS (basic input/output system) to gain access to a computer or make immediate changes without the user’s knowledge or permission. Just like memory manipulation, a BIOS attack can be made by physically accessing the system and tampering with the BIOS chips or using software to modify the BIOS.

Hardware Trojans

You’ve probably heard of Trojan viruses, malicious programs that masquerade as legitimate programs to gain access to a system. Well, there is also such a thing as a hardware Trojan. A hardware Trojan is a malicious piece of hardware designed to compromise a system’s security – again, masquerading as a legitimate one. Hardware Trojans can be inserted into a system during the manufacturing process or implanted after the system has been sold.

Preventing Hardware Attacks

Thankfully, you can do a few things to protect your systems from hardware attacks.

Having Physical Security Measures

One of the best ways to protect your system from hardware attacks is to secure it physically. This means ensuring that only authorized personnel have access to the system and that it is properly locked away when not in use. If possible, you should also consider using security cameras and access control systems to secure your system further.

Using Tamper-Resistant Hardware

Another way to protect your system from attacks is tamper-resistant hardware. This type of hardware is designed to prevent unauthorized access and tampering and can be an effective way to deter would-be attackers.

Hardware Cryptography

Hardware cryptography is a type of security measure that uses cryptographic chips to encrypt data and protect it from being tampered with. This is an effective way to protect sensitive data and is often used in conjunction with other security measures – such as physical security measures and tamper-resistant hardware.

Keeping Your Systems Updated

This simple advice is often overlooked but can go a long way. Keeping your system up-to-date with the latest security patches and updates protects your software and hardware. Doing this can close any potential security holes that an attacker might exploit.


We can conclude that hardware attacks are a serious threat to the security of any system – but thankfully, there are some things you can do to protect yourself. By using physical security measures, tamper-resistant hardware, hardware cryptography, and keeping your system up-to-date, you can help safeguard your system against these attacks. The potential cost of overlooking hardware security is too big, so we recommend that both companies and individuals take it seriously.


Mark Funk
Mark Funk is an experienced information security specialist who works with enterprises to mature and improve their enterprise security programs. Previously, he worked as a security news reporter.