Brute force attacks are less reliant on website vulnerabilities than other threatening methods. Instead, for these attacks to be successful, users must have weak credentials. The tactic’s popularity among resourceful cybercriminals can be attributed to how simple and easy it is to exploit easy credentials.
Take a moment to respond to this seemingly simple question: How many passwords/credentials do you have? Not so easy to remember, right?
Passwords that are weak or have been stolen are to blame for most data breaches. Therefore, a strong and original password is a must!
In this post, we will explore brute force attacks, including what they are, and how you can prevent hackers from exploiting them.
What is a Brute Force Attack?
A cyberattack known as a “brute force” attempts to guess every possible combination of a password, encryption key, or any other login data by using a method known as “trial and error.” It is known as “brute force” because the cybercriminal will make numerous, abrasive attempts to access a target account without authorization. Despite being surprisingly straightforward, brute force attacks are very effective.
Service disruption, information theft, and malware distribution are some of the reasons attackers launch brute-force attacks. In other situations, attackers might make money from ads, obtain private information, or damage a website’s reputation.
Software and programs may be used as tools by cyber criminals to conduct brute-force attacks. To get around authentication systems, these applications can automate password combinations. To access web applications using alternative methods, the correct session IDs must be predicted.
But brute force attacks are the most typical use of bots. Hackers frequently possess a list of passwords that have been recently stolen, sold on the dark web, or obtained through certain security breaches. The bots will then handle the rest and repeatedly attack websites with the credentials they have obtained.
Brute force attacks do not only target credentials. In addition to these resources, brute-force attacks can also be used on usernames, directories, links, and emails.
Defending Against Brute Force Attacks
The following are some tested techniques for preventing brute force attacks:
1. Use secure passwords
The easiest and best way to stop a brute-force attack is to have a strong password policy. For your web application or a public server, you should generate a complex password that is nearly impossible to decipher but is simple to remember. When generating a password, remember to:
- Never use your username or password with any personal information. Don’t use your full name or birthdate as a password.
- Never reuse the same password for multiple accounts. For every account that you own, use a different combination of passwords.
- In a few guesses, several of the recycled or modified passwords can be deciphered. Use lengthy passphrases with special characters and spaces. Your passwords should contain upper- and lowercase letters, symbols, and numbers.
- Make your password more than 6 characters long. Passwords ought to ideally be 15 characters long at least.
- Use only words from English-language dictionaries. Use random character strings instead of words whenever possible.
2. Fewer attempts at login
Most websites, especially those powered by WordPress, permit an unlimited number of login attempts by default. To prevent brute force attacks, website administrators can use plugins to restrict the number of login attempts allowed on their platform.
With these plugins, you can specify how many logins you want your users to have. Their IP addresses will be blocked from your website for a significant amount of time once they make too many attempts.
3. Keep an eye on the IP address
Regarding the second strategy, you ought to restrict login attempts to people using a particular IP address or range. If you have a mixed (online and offline) work structure or the majority of your employees work remotely, this is especially crucial. Establish alerts for any login attempts coming from strange IP addresses, and make sure to restrict them.
CAPTCHA (Completely Automated Public Turing test to tell Computers and Humans Apart) in essence, are tasks that humans can easily complete but which are challenging for automated computer applications to complete, such as recognizing patterns or clicking in a specific location on a website. They are used by websites to prevent spam and bot activity.
5. Put two-factor authentication to use (2FA)
An additional layer of security for your accounts is provided by two-factor or even multi-factor authentication. When logging into an account, two-factor authentication requires users to confirm their identity before access is granted.
When 2FA is enabled, for instance, you might be prompted to verify that you are the one trying to log into your email. You would need to enter a special code sent to your mobile as a means of confirming your identity before obtaining access to your account.
6. Block root SSH login attempts
The root user allows for brute force attacks on the SSH (Secure Shell) protocol. To prevent root user entry via SSH, edit the sshd_config file and set the “DenyUsers root” and “PermitRootLogin” options to no.
7. Implement WAFs (web application firewalls)
An effective defense against cyber-attacks that try to gain unapproved access to your system is a WAF (web application firewall). An extreme number of requests from a source to a URL space during a predetermined period is typically enforced.
In addition to cyber-attacks that aim to gain entrance to a server and steal session tokens, WAFs can stop DOS attacks that exhaust server resources and restrict weakness scanning tools that look for flaws in your computer network.
Attacks using brute force are completely avoidable. By using limiting login attempts, having a strong password policy, using CAPTCHAs, enabling two-factor authentication, and blocking malicious IP addresses; you can prevent brute force attacks and significantly increase your data security.
However, by collaborating with professionals, you can further improve your network security. Receiving ongoing IT support from a cheap web hosting service provider gives you access to individuals who can assist you in integrating security measures like using 2FA and monitoring changes so you’re prepared for any unforeseen developments. By enlisting the aid of an MSP, staying secure in the ever-evolving cyber threat landscape can be made easier