What is a Brute Force Attack?

brute force attack occurs when malicious hackers use forceful attempts to break into an account and gain access to private information. Hackers use this attack to collect data or steal personal information and sell it to others. Additionally, they can use it to spread malware, phish victims, or carry out other illegal activities.

How Do Hackers Attempt A Brute Force Attack?

A hacker can use a range of methods to gain unauthorized access to an account. Some of them are –

  • Simple brute force attack – This occurs when an attacker uses logical attempts to decode your password without the use of the software.
  • Dictionary attack – This type of attack happens when the attacker runs several password combinations against a targeted username.
  • Hybrid brute force attack – In this type of attack, hackers combine their logical guesswork with external means like a dictionary to mix common words with random characters. This helps them decode passwords faster.
  • Reverse brute force attack – This attack starts when hackers use a known password and run it against several usernames to find a match. Leaked passwords from data breaches are often used in such an attack.
  • Credential stuffing – Credential stuffing happens when a hacker has access to a username-password combination that works for one website. He then tries that combination on other websites. Users who have a common username-password combination across different websites are often victims of this attack.

Tools Used to Make Brute Force Attempts

Hackers often use sophisticated tools to do their job faster and with more accuracy. They have automated tools for rapidly guessing thousands of password combinations. These tools work against computer protocols like MySQL, SMPT, FTP, and Telnet to allow hackers to create wireless modems and decrypt passwords.

Usually, passwords using leetspeak are safer. But these tools can also translate leetspeak which is the secret code for writing any digital communication or passwords. Hackers have also invented hardware tools that combine the powers of CPU and GPU and increase the computing power needed for cracking passwords.

How to Detect Brute Force Attacks?

To ensure effective protection against brute force attacks, it is important to detect them well. Common signs that point to a brute force attack include –

  • Several unsuccessful attempts to log in to an account from the same IP address.
  • Several IP addresses unsuccessfully attempt to log into an account many times.
  • Many IP addresses attempt to log in to an account from different IP addresses within a short duration.

How to Prevent Brute Force Attacks?

Organizations can protect themselves against this attack by taking the below-mentioned steps.

  • Password education – Brute force attacks prey on weak passwords. Therefore, the first and most crucial step is to educate the workforce on how to create strong passwords. To create a strong password, you should avoid reusing a password across several websites. You should keep the passwords complex by using a combination of numbers, letters, and characters. Also, avoid using commonly used combinations such as 123, ABC, etc. It is also advisable to use a long password. The more the number of characters, the longer it takes a hacker to guess it.
  • Changing the authentication URL – For automated attacks using bulk operation tools, changing the login page URL can be enough to stop them. This is possible because one of the primary requirements to launch a brute force attack is to send credentials to a destination URL. However, this method is not applicable when the web address is visible to all or is easy to guess.
  • Using two-factor authentication – Two-factor authentication requires a user to enter the login credentials followed by accessing an email or inputting a unique code generated for authentication purposes. This ensures that someone cannot access an account just because they have the username-password combination.
  • Using CAPTCHA – CAPTCHA is a way to implement manual verification before a user can log in to an account. It can be introduced by asking the user to check a box, identify objects in pictures, or retyping a text.
  • Removing unused accounts – Unused and unattended accounts can serve as a backdoor for hackers and must be promptly deleted from the network.
  • Using higher encryption rates – To make passwords harder to crack, administrators should encrypt them with high encryption rates such as 256-bit encryption.
  • Randomizing password hashes – By using a technique called Salt, administrators can add random letters or numbers in password hashes. This ensures that even common passwords are unique for every user.
  • Limiting the number of login attempts – Brute force involves multiple attempts to break into an account using someone’s login credentials. Administrators can limit the number of log-in attempts into an account. Once that limit is crossed, the account can go into lockdown.
  • Blocking known attackers – Administrators can use a blacklist of IP addresses to block attackers known to them.

The Way Forward

Take necessary steps to ensure protection against brute force prevention. Get in touch with trusted security experts like Indusface today.