As technology continues to rapidly evolve, there has been an increase in cyber threats that can potentially harm individuals and businesses alike. One type of cyber attack that has become increasingly common is a brute force attack. This is a tactic used by cybercriminals to gain access to user accounts by trying multiple username and password combinations until they find the correct one.
In this blog, we’ll discuss some practical ways you can minimise the risk of falling victim to an attack.
What Do Hackers Gain from Brute Force Attacks?
Stealing Sensitive Data: One of the main goals of a brute force attack is to steal sensitive data, such as personal information or financial details. Hackers use this information to commit identity theft or financial fraud, among other things.
Exploiting Networks: Brute force attacks can allow hackers to exploit networks. An account that has been compromised can be used as a gateway to access other accounts on the same network. This can lead to a more significant data breach.
Delivering Malware: Hackers often use brute force attacks to deliver malware to the targeted accounts. The malware can be used to steal sensitive information, request access to other accounts on the same network, or initiate an attack on the entire system.
Common Types of Brute Force Attacks
Here are some common types of brute force attacks:
Simple Brute Force Attack: In this type of attack, the hacker creates a list of potential username and password combinations and uses software to try each combination until they find the correct one.
Dictionary Attack: A dictionary attack is similar to a simple brute force attack. However, instead of trying every possible combination, the hacker uses a list of commonly used passwords or words.
Hybrid Brute Force Attack: A hybrid brute force attack is a combination of a simple brute force attack and a dictionary attack. Hackers will use software to try every possible combination of letters, numbers, and symbols while also incorporating common words.
Credential Stuffing: Credential stuffing is a type of brute force attack that involves collecting stolen username and password combinations and then testing these on other websites to see if they can gain access to additional user accounts.
Reverse Brute Force Attacks: In this attack type, cybercriminals begin the attack with a known password which has been typically discovered through a data breach. The hackers then search millions of usernames until they find a match.
Tips to Avoid Brute Force Attacks
Use Strong Passwords
A complex password makes it harder for cybercriminals to crack your password using automated software. Complex passwords use a combination of uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers, and special characters. Avoid using easy-to-guess passwords, such as your name, date of birth, or even commonly used words.
Enable Two-Factor Authentication
Two-factor authentication (2FA) adds an additional layer of security to your accounts beyond a password. This involves providing two forms of authentication, usually a password and a code sent to a mobile device, before granting access to your account. Even if a hacker manages to steal your password, they will still need to enter the verified code to gain access.
Limit Login Attempts
Another effective way to prevent brute force attacks is to limit login attempts. When cybercriminals use automated software to launch an attack, the software usually tries multiple username and password combinations over a short amount of time. By limiting login attempts, the software is rendered useless as the account locks down after a number of failed attempts.
Keep Your Software and Security Solutions Up to Date
Cybercriminals often exploit vulnerabilities in outdated software and security solutions to gain unauthorised access to user accounts. It’s essential to keep software and security solutions up to date to minimise vulnerabilities.
Be Cautious of Clicking Phishing Links
In brute force attacks, cybercriminals typically send legitimate-looking emails that aim to trick recipients into revealing their login credentials. These emails usually contain a fraudulent call-to-action that direct users to click a malicious link or input login credentials. You should be cautious of emails from unfamiliar sources, especially those that request account information, or urge the user to click on an unknown link. Be careful when inputting personal information, and ensure that the website’s URL is secure before entering your information.
By applying these strategies, you can better safeguard your personal information, networks, and accounts, which are essential components to preventing and mitigating the risks of cyber attacks.