Shimming in Cyber Security? A Comprehensive Guide to Understanding the Basics

What is shimming in cyber security? A guide to understanding the basics

Stay Informed With Our Weekly Newsletter

Receive crucial updates on the ever-evolving landscape of technology and innovation.

By clicking 'Sign Up', I acknowledge that my information will be used in accordance with the Institute of Data's Privacy Policy.

This guide aims to demystify the concept of shimming in cyber security. By learning about this technique, its history, and its implications, you will gain a deeper understanding of the complex cyber security landscape.

Understanding the basics of cyber security

Understanding shimming in cyber security

Cyber security, by its definition, is the practice of safeguarding systems, networks, and programs from digital attacks. These attacks are usually aimed at accessing, changing, or destroying sensitive information, interrupting normal business processes or extorting money from users.

Consider cyber security as a fortress safeguarding an organisation’s digital assets. Its significance cannot be overstated in today’s digital-first world where a single breach can have far-reaching economic and reputational consequences.

Introduction to shimming in cyber security

Hacker using shimming in cyber security

Shimming in cyber security is a technique used by hackers to manipulate the way that an application works and allow it to run malicious code. Its stealthy nature makes it a troublesome cyber security threat.

Shimming in cyber security involves inserting a small piece of code between the layer of an application and the operating system on which it runs. This piece of code, or ‘shim’, can then modify the system’s behaviour without the application or operating system being aware.

Initially, shimming emerged as a fix for compatibility issues between different software versions. Developers would use shims to bridge the gap between older applications and newer operating systems, ensuring smooth functioning and preventing crashes.

However, as technology advanced and cybercrime became more prevalent, shimming in cyber security took a darker turn.

Cyber criminals quickly recognised the potential of this technique for their own nefarious purposes. They began exploiting shimming to bypass security measures, gain unauthorised access, and execute malicious code on targeted systems.

Today, shimming remains a prevalent technique in the arsenal of cyber criminals. Its ability to go undetected by traditional security solutions poses a significant challenge for organisations and individuals seeking to protect their systems and data.

How does shimming work in cyber security?

In the context of cyber security, shimming works as a way to trick applications into behaving in undesired ways, such as running malicious software. This is done by adding a custom shim that intercepts the system calls between the application and the operating system.

Examples of shimming in cyber security in action

There are numerous instances where shimming has been a key component of a cyber attack. One notable example was the infamous Stuxnet worm, which used shims to modify the behaviour of the targeted industrial control systems.

The role of shimming in cyber attacks

Hacker with an attack method of shimming in cyber security

Shimming plays a crucial role in modern cyber attacks. By using shims, hackers can alter how an application operates and then launch stealthy attacks that go undetected by security software.

Common types of shim-based attacks

There are several types of shim-based attacks that cyber criminals commonly use. These include DLL injection attacks, process hollowing, and hooking attacks among others.

Case studies of shim-based cyber attacks

There have been several high-profile cases where shimming has been a part of a cyber attack. For instance, the Carbanak group used shimming as a part of their attack on banking organisations, resulting in millions of dollars in losses.

Protecting against shim-based cyber attacks

Security expert preventing a cyber attack like shimming in cyber security

The increasing reliance on shimming techniques by cyber criminals necessitates robust measures to protect against such attacks.

Best practices for shimming in cyber security

There are several proactive strategies to prevent shimming in cyber security. Regular system updates, stringent access control policies, and a reliable security system are good starting points.

Tools and techniques for detecting and preventing shimming

Several tools and techniques are available to detect and prevent shimming in cyber security. These include security tools like antivirus software and intrusion detection systems.

Cyber security professionals can also use code inspection and anomaly detection techniques to uncover potential shimming attempts.


Ready to dive deeper into cyber security and master the intricacies of shimming and other threats? Elevate your knowledge and skills with our tailored cyber security program at the Institute of Data.

We also offer free career consultations with our local team if you’d like to discuss your options.

Share This

Copy Link to Clipboard