Brute force attacks involve a hacker trying to access confidential web application information and accounts. Attempts to gain access are made through automated server requests.
It’s an attack where the hacker attempts to guess your password by trying a combination of letters, symbols, and numbers until they succeed in finding the correct combination. The process is automated by applying bots, which can try multiple combinations much faster than humans. Let’s discuss brute force attacks, their threat, and how to stay safe.
What are Brute Force Attacks?
An online brute force attack makes a running website or a mobile app its target. Of course, the perpetrators could target any password-protected entity, like a Facebook or Instagram account. However, in this case, we focus on attacks against websites and their owners’ accounts.
Essentially, a brute force attack attempts to submit as many passwords as possible in the hopes of finding the correct one. Hackers craft thousands of potential passphrases for this to work, and many of them are frequently used passwords.
Thus, the hacker’s bots go through various combinations of words in the generated list until they can guess the password.
Why are Brute Force Attacks Launched?
It’s in the early stages of the cyber kill chain itself that a brute force attack occurs, mainly during the stages of reconnaissance and infiltration. Attackers look to gain access or find points of entry into what they target. The method of brute force attacks is in the “set it, forget it” mode, which helps the hacker find the access.
Attackers also launch brute force attacks to find hidden web pages. These are those websites that exist on the internet without any links to other pages. Through a brute force attack, an attacker tests many addresses in the hope that it returns a valid webpage he can exploit. They may use a software vulnerability that lies in the code for making an infiltration— similar to what was used while infiltrating Equifax.
As brute force attacks involve little finesse, attackers can launch multiple automatic attacks that run simultaneously to expand their options of finding a result.
How Can You Defend Yourself from Brute Force Attacks?
A brute force attack is a time-consuming affair. Some of these attacks may even need months to come up with something usable. The defense methods against brute force attacks mostly rely on increasing the time the attacker needs to achieve success. However, that’s not the only form of defense. Here are a few standard and effective methods.
- Increasing password lengths. The more the characters, the more time the attacker needs to crack it.
- Make the passwords more complex. Ensure more variety in the characters you use to make the passwords more difficult so that a brute force attack needs more time to breach it.
- Put a limit on the login attempts. On most directory services, brute force attacks proliferate a counter of login attempts that have failed. Locking out users after a few unsuccessful login attempts is a good defense against a brute force attack as the attack’s nullified.
- Use captcha. Captchas are used commonly to gauge if it’s a human on your website, stopping any ongoing brute force attack.
- Implement multi-factor authentication. To put an added layer of security in place, you should implement multi-factor authentication for every login, which makes human intervention necessary, thereby stopping a brute force attack.
- Beware of using public networks and devices. Avoid entering passwords on someone else’s computer. Never use public Wi-Fi to enter websites that require your credentials (like a bank). If you must connect to the free network, use a PC VPN to safeguard the data you submit while connected to public Wi-Fi. A VPN encrypts the data traveling between your device and the internet making sure that it stays concealed. Use various security tools on your PC.
Cybercrime is continuously rising, and brute force is a common form of attack used by hackers. Protect your website from perpetrators and ensure that your accounts’ passwords are complicated enough to withstand brute force attacks. After all, attackers can perform any activity, mainly if they breach an account with admin privileges.