A brute force attack is an increasingly popular method through which hackers gain unauthorized access to sensitive data by guessing passwords. Verizon’s 2020 Data Breach Investigations Report found that over 80% of data breaches are caused by hacking involving “brute force or the use of lost or stolen credentials.” Brute force attacks are only becoming more popular due to increased cybersecurity vulnerabilities connected to the rise of remote work.
Let’s explore some of the common characteristics of this threat before determining how to prevent brute force attacks.
What is a brute force attack?
Simply put, a brute force attack is a trial-and-error method where a hacker or bot simply tries to guess login credentials. The term “brute force” comes from the hacker relentlessly trying every possible password until they stumble upon the one that works, gaining unauthorized access to data by sheer force of will.
How does a brute force attack work?
There are many different types of brute force attacks, each with their own methodology. It’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with the different types in order to best determine how to prevent brute force attacks:
How to prevent brute force attacks
The good news is that brute force attacks are preventable. First and foremost, passwords should be optimized for security. For example, any weak, commonly used password, like “123456,” “password,” or “111111” should be changed immediately. With that in mind, it’s a good idea to bypass passwords containing any dictionary words. A combination of numbers and letters is harder to guess than a password using words and phrases, especially if they contain easily obtainable personal details.
Also, each password should be unique to each account. The last thing you want to do is unwittingly hand over what’s known as “the keys to the kingdom” and allow a bad actor access to all of your professional and personal accounts at once.
On an organizational level, instituting a security feature that locks users out of an account after a handful of unsuccessful login attempts will go a long way towards protecting your business’s data. Two-factor authentication is another popular, not to mention effective preventative measure for combatting brute force attacks and credential stuffing.
The best way to avoid falling victim to cyberthreats is by staying vigilant and following cybersecurity best practices, such as setting your passwords to auto-expire or never containing your personal information within them. SiteLock can help you safeguard your data against brute force attacks and countless other threats. Get in touch today to find out how.