In this article, we will discuss the types of brute force attacks and how we can prevent them.
Cybersecurity attacks are common in digital space. Now they are more prevalent than ever as hackers are becoming more skilled in the craft. Additionally, in the early days hacking was just for fun. It was essentially an unorganized act of getting some personal advantage. However, now institutions and even governments leverage the services of hackers to get into people’s systems. As a result, hacking today is organized and can be devastating for businesses and individuals alike.
Also Read: Emerging Cybersecurity Technologies for Businesses
With the COVID-19 Pandemic upon us, many businesses are switching to online spaces. Work from home is a new normal. Brick and mortar offices are now the things of the past. In this scenario, it is necessary to make online space more secure. The job creation in the cybersecurity sector is skyrocketing. Nonetheless, small businesses with low budgets are struggling to protect themselves.
We, at Vizz Web Solutions, are experts in creating secure web and mobile apps with the use of the latest techniques and smart technologies. In the subsequent paragraphs of this article, we will discuss from our experience the simple methods of preventing a common form of security attack i.e brute force attack. So, let’s get to the matter.
What is a Brute Force Attack?
Brute force attack is a common form of hacking attack which involves guessing the logins & passwords of a targeted system. The attackers keep inserting combinations until the correct ones are identified. Brute force attacks account for approximately 5 percent of security breaches. It is a simple attack with a high success rate.
Brute force attacker can not only crack passwords but also reach hidden contents of a website or mobile application. Weak and vulnerable passwords are an easy hit. However, long passwords can stand their ground for some time. Brute force attacks have a high success rate. The attacker can try an infinite number of passwords. Eventually, he/she can gain unauthorized access. There are many automated tools available with the help of which you can make a thousand attempts in a short span of time.
Intent Behind Attack:
The intention of brute force attacker can be one of the following:
- Unleash a large-scale attack by leaving malware.
- Creating a backdoor from where a hacker could reach in whenever he wants.
- Steal sensitive information for personal gains.
- Disrupting services of the targeted system altogether.
Types of Brute Force Attacks:
There are five popular types of brute force attacks:
- Simple Brute Force Attacks
- Dictionary Attacks
- Hybrid Brute Force Attacks
- Credential Stuffing
- Reverse Brute Force Attacks
Simple Brute Force Attack:
Ever wondered what are the common passwords used by a wide number of human species? Well, if you are a brute force attacker then you might have. This technique is called a simple brute force attack. The attacker does not use any logic or software. The simple brute force attacks are successful in guessing simple and common passwords like ‘12345‘.
Dictionary attacks come under the umbrella of brute force attacks but they are essentially password cracking methods. Brute force attacker picks up a username and checks with multiple passwords against them. They can sometimes use the dictionary words in a sequence with some combination of numerals and symbols. It is a complex and time taking method, however worth it if you succeed.
Hybrid Brute Force Attacks:
Hybrid brute force attacks use logic coupled with other methods to break into a system. The attacker mixes dictionary attacks with simple brute force attacks to gain unauthorized access. A password like ‘Manhattan9/11‘ will be guessed with this type of method.
Reverse Brute Force Attacks:
Reverse brute force attacks involve the use of previously known data. The attackers start entering the leaked logins and passwords. This type of data is usually available on the dark web and other hackers’ sites.
Credential stuffing takes advantage of the human psyche. We often use the same password for multiple sites. The attacker steals passwords from one website and then uses them on other forums to gain access.
Interesting Read: What is Ethical Hacking? Types and Operations.
Techniques to Prevent Brute Force Attacks:
Brute force attacks are scary stuff for both businesses and individuals. You can prevent such attacks by following measures:
- Use Lengthy Passwords
- Increase Password Complexity
- Limit Failed Login Attempts
- Use Captcha
- Two Factor Authentication
- Monitor Server Logs
Use Lengthy Passwords:
The ideal length of a password is 8-16 characters. Such a password is hard to break as hackers need to try millions of combinations for guessing the right one. Many platforms make it mandatory for visitors to use a strong password with a specific length of characters.
Increasing the complexity of passwords makes it difficult to guess and delays the cracking time. Passwords like ‘America123‘ or ‘Password123456‘ are very common. Hence hackers are likely to test them. Using passwords with a combination of lowercase letters, uppercase letters, numbers and special characters can prevent the cracking process.
Limit Failed Login Attempts:
Locking the account after a few failed login attempts is an effective way of keeping malicious actors away. Many platforms lock the account after you enter the wrong credentials 4-5 times. Businesses can use this strategy for WordPress sites. Besides, in addition to limiting login attempts, you can also limit the IP address or range of Ip addresses from where your account can be accessed.
You can prevent brute force attacks by using CAPTCHA on the internet. The hackers often use bots for guessing passwords. A bot can test millions of password combinations within a span of one minute. By using CAPTCHA, you render the bots ineffective.
CAPTCHA isn’t a very delightful site when you are trying to log in on a platform. However, they are highly effective against bots. Therefore you should employ them on your site.
2-Factor Authentication adds another step beyond a simple username and password for accessing the account. It is the first line of defense against brute force attacks. 2FA reduces the chances of data leaks.
There are multiple ways for employing two-factor authentication. You can either use SMS or Email alert. Upon every login attempt, you will get a code that can give access to your account. This prevents attackers from accessing your account easily.
Monitor Your Server Logs:
Keep a check on log files. Analyze daily or periodically for maintaining the security of the system. The active admin is likely to find out unauthorized activities on time. Thus effective measures can be put in place for preventing brute force attacks.
Brute Force attacks are a simple and common way of data breaches. The more sensitive data you have the more vulnerable you are. Persistent attackers are difficult to deter. However, you can prevent a wide number of brute force attacks on your site by employing the strategies mentioned above.