What is a Brute Force Attack
By Christine Margret 7 minutes
Attacks on passwords are on the rise, nearly every website out there experiences a hacking attack.
The purpose of such hacking attacks is to gain illegal access to the targeted website. A Brute Force attack is no exception. It is a hacking process used to decode a website’s password to make way for unauthorized web access.
A Brute Force Attack involves continuous guessing to crack a website’s password. It is used to steal confidential data, or sometimes inject malicious scripts to exploit the website.
How Brute Force Attack Works
Brute Force Attack works with the help of bots or automated software. These bots are capable of guessing and implementing billions of passwords and username combinations.
These bots repeatedly attempt and implement unlimited password combinations and usernames till it matches correctly.
A Brute Force attacker targets any file, or any page of a website then uses a specific computer program that is able to guess multiple passwords and usernames.
A point comes, where the computer program finds the right password and username. The attacker then easily makes access to the targeted website.
Bear in mind that Brute Force Attackers use computer programs that no ordinary hacker can access. These are specialized computer programs which can possibly attempt 1×109 combinations per second.
Examples of Brute Force Attacks
Brute Force Attack is a matter of high concern for enterprises because various popular organizations have fallen victim to it. In 2016, it has been reported that the giant ecommerce site Alibaba.com experienced a Brute Force Attack.
The ecommerce site faced a security collapse due to the compromised, weak password security. Up to 21 million accounts got affected with the massive Brute Force Attack.
Another organization GitHub notified its users in 2013 about the Brute Force attack took place on the web. Weak user passwords were proving to be the biggest reason for the system cripple.
Later, the organization forced its users to change and implement more secure password combinations.
Reasons of Brute Force Attack
Ever wondered why cybercriminals use attacks like Brute Force? Hackers use these approaches to log into the system. After gaining full access to the system, these hackers may have different objectives to continue with. Some of the most commonly seen reasons behind the Brute Force Attack are as under:
- To steal personal account information of a user
- To sell identified credentials to the third-parties
- Gain access to send phishing emails
- To spoil a website’s interface from admin panel
- To disrupt the website from malicious content
Note: Not every Brute Force Attack contains malware; some can be used to detect system vulnerabilities.
How long do Brute Force Attacks take?
Brute Force Attack, tries every possible combination of the keyboard keys until it finds the right password. Hackers launch Brute Force Attacks with the help of various available tools.
However, there is no specific timeframe to detect a password via Brute attack. It may be a matter of days, weeks or years to successfully crack a password via Brute Attack, depending on the complexity and length of the password.
However, it is easy to execute this kind of attack because hackers are experts at writing codes, they can easily write a script or utilize bots to continue such attacks.
Enterprises with weak password protection mostly fall victim to Brute Force Cracker Attack.
Is Brute Force Illegal?
Brute Force is legal for testing purposes only. Any access to a website without owner’s consent will be considered illegal.
How to detect a Brute Force Attack?
From user’s point
There are no specific ways to detect a user’s Brute Force account breach.
If you ever receive an email notifying unauthorized login attempt then check for any account changes and immediately change the password.
From Administrator point
If you are a network administrator then it is very important to keep an eye on the signs to protect your network and users’ security.
If you notice multiple failed login attempts from the same IP then it could be a potential attempt to Brute forcing. Bear in mind that the same thing can also be seen because of an organization’s large proxy server.
Moreover, try to figure out the alphabetical and numerical patterns of the failed login attempts.
There is also a chance that you will see login attempts with multiple usernames using the same IP address, again, it could be a result of the organization’s large server network.
However, one clear sign will be the unusual use of the bandwidth consumed on the unsuccessful login. This could be a very clear sign of an attempt made for stealing the organization’s valuable data.
Types of Brute Force Attacks
Brute Force Attacks are of various forms. The most common types of Brute Force Attack are:
Dictionary Brute Force Attack
A Dictionary attack is a form of Brute Force Attack that decodes a password-protected server or computer. In this attack, the hacker uses the most common dictionary phrases and words used by the organizations and individuals.
Hybrid Brute Force Attack
Hybrid Brute Force Attack is similar to dictionary attack, but it uses more sophisticated and logical iteration to crack a system’s password.
Reverse Brute Force Attack
Reserve Brute Force Attack uses multiple common passwords with various usernames. This type of Brute Force Attack doesn’t attempt to crack an individual’s account, but tries to gain access to the entire network.
How to prevent Brute Force Attack?
Taking a few precautionary measures can help you prevent Brute Force attack.
Frequently update passwords
It is highly advised to frequently update passwords. Your passwords should be lengthy enough to exceed 8 characters.
That’s the reason that many websites today, notify users to create strong passwords with up to 16 characters.
Password complexity also slows down the cracking process. Make sure to use password combination with upper and lower case. Add special characters, numbers and alphabets to secure your password.
Enable Two Factor Authentication
Enabling two factor authentication is your chance to stay protected from the Brute Force Attack.
2FA involves more than one process of verification. It will enforce the user to perform verification through a link sent via SMS or email just after making the login attempt.
Due to the rise in the Brute Force Attacks, organizations are heavily relying on the captcha technique.
The technique is the best way to determine that the login attempt is being made by a human or bots.
Captcha requests users to click on particular images, write words or answer mathematical queries.
Captcha disables bots from adding automated Brute Force scripts on the website.
Limit Login Attempts
Limiting the login attempts is another effective way to prevent Brute Force Attack. You can easily enable this feature on any admin panel. It will temporarily block the particular IP address from which multiple login attempts are being made.
How FastestVPN Prevents a Brute Force Attack?
When you connect to the FastestVPN, your connection and data get encrypted. It means that hackers cannot read or access the data.
FastestVPN uses AES 256 bit encryption that makes it impossible to decode or crack password. Even if someone tries to crack the encrypted communication, it will take forever to do so.
The best way to stop Brute Force Attack is to improve system vulnerabilities. Weak Network administration and simple passwords can be a threat to any organization. Strong password, 2FA, enabled limited login attempts and VPN will be extremely useful security measures to protect your system against Brute Force Attack.