In today’s world, tremendous advancements in technology have come to the aid of man remarkably & made life convenient & enjoyable. For example, colossal amount of money can be transferred from one account to another within fraction of seconds. All it takes is just a snap of one’s fingers to get things done that we couldn’t imagine doing few years ago.
However, just as each coin has two sides; technical evolution tends to have some consequences too! It has paved a way to increase in the number of cyber-crimes.
While spyware & Ransomware attacks have become run-of-the-mill these days, the brute force attack is one such cyber-attack techniques that can result in privacy breach, huge data & financial loss.
It is considered as one of the extensively used hacking techniques that are used by hackers to break into website, accounts & systems & steal sensitive information.
Therefore, it is important for the computer users to understand what Brute Force Attack is & how its attack can be prevented.
Refer to our comprehensive guide on Brute Force hacking & online brute force tools given below & gear yourself up to protect your data against any potential brute force attack.
- What is a Brute Force Attack (Exhaustive Search)?
- Information Gathered using Brute Force
- Types of Brute Force Attacks
- Tools used to carry out Brute Force Hacking
- Tips to Prevent Brute Force Password Hacking Attack
- 1). Password Complexity:
- 2). Password Length:
- 3). Limit the Login Attempts:
- 4). Two-Factor/ Multi-factor Authentication:
- 5). Captchas:
What is a Brute Force Attack (Exhaustive Search)?
Brute Force Attack, also known as brute force hacking, refers to a cryptographic hacking technique that is used to crack passwords & accounts. This hacking method involves repetitive guessing & trying various combinations of passwords to break into a website, account or system.
The brute force hacking technique terminates when the combination gives the right password & illicit access to an account is achieved by the hackers. The longer the password, the more the combinations it will need to break it. On the other hand, if a password is weak, it would hardly take few seconds to get to the right one.
However, the usage of this technique is not confined to just cracking passwords. It is also used to find hidden web-pages & locate the key that was used to encrypt a message.
According to an analysis, brute force attack online contributes to 5% of the confirmed data breach incidences in year 2017.
Cyber-security analysts call Brute Force a simple hacking technique that has an amazing success rate. Analysis shows that detecting and deactivating a brute force attack in progress is easy as locating the hackers after they’ve gained access to the network is like herding cats.
Information Gathered using Brute Force
Detailed analysis by cyber-security analysts reveals that cracking a password using Brute Force can take anywhere from few seconds to many years, depending on the length & complexity of the password. Some of the hackers target the same system every day for several months or even for several years, until the right combination of password is not achieved.
Here’s a list of menaces posed by the nasty Brute Force Hacking on the infected system/device:
1). Gain illicit access to the targeted systems & websites.
2). Hacked websites/systems are used to execute other malicious cyber-attacks.
3). Valuable data such as passwords, passphrases, usernames, Personal Identification Numbers (PINs), online account credentials & network resources can be stolen by hackers.
4). Gathered credentials (username & password) can be sold to the third parties.
5). Hackers can pose as users via compromised accounts & send out phishing links/spread false content.
6). Hackers can deface the compromised website or accounts that could lead damage the reputation of the individuals & organizations.
7). Redirect the authentic domains to websites containing malicious content
Types of Brute Force Attacks
Here is a list of the types of Brute Force Attacks that are predominantly used by the hackers to achieve the goals mentioned above:
1). Simple Brute Force Attack: This type of Online Brute Force hacking use a systematic approach to guess & attempt the password combinations to break into accounts. It doesn’t rely on the outside logic.
2). Hybrid Brute Force Attacks: Hybrid Brute force Hacking begins its attack from the external logic to find out the password combinations that are most likely to succeed. It uses a list of commonly used passwords to try as many as possible variations to break the password.
3). Dictionary Attacks: As the name suggests, the attacker goes through a dictionary containing possible passwords & tries them all on one account, until the right one is not found.
The attack begins with assuming common passwords & guessing it from the list in the dictionary. Such attacks can add numbers & characters to the words.
4). Reverse Brute Force Attacks: This attack initiates with a commonly-used/known password (leaked passwords that are available online) & using it against an array of usernames until it finds the right one.
5). Credential Recycling: This type of brute force hacking employs the breached data containing usernames & passwords to try to break into the systems & accounts.
This is one of the devastating attacks as username & password pairing are known to the hackers. They can use the breached information to gain illicit access into multiple websites & network resources.
Credential Recycling Brute force attack example: Many users keep identical passwords to log in to different websites for simplicity’s sake & to avoid confusion.
However, taking security measures such as two-step authentication & different passwords for different accounts, one can minimize or even prevent online brute force attacks that rely on credential stuffing.
Tools used to carry out Brute Force Hacking
1). Aircrack – ng: Aircrack – ng is one of the brute force attack software that can used to breach Wi-Fi Network Security. Typically, it uses dictionary attacks to guess the password & breach the network.
This brute force wifi password hacking tool can be used on various OS such as Windows, Linux, iOS & Android.
2). John the Ripper: John the Ripper is a widely-used online brute force tool since long time. Initially, this password-hacking tool was developed for Unix-based systems. The later versions of Jon the Riper are available for Unix, Windows, DOS, BeOS and OpenVMS.
3). Rainbow Attack: It is a well-known brute force attack tool that can be used to crack passwords. While it performs attack, it generates rainbow table to crack password hashes. This Brute Force password hacking tool is still in development & its latest version is available for both Windows & Linux systems.
Other Brute Force Attack software includes L0phtCrack, Crack, Hashcat, NCrack & THC hydra brute force tool.
Tips to Prevent Brute Force Password Hacking Attack
Here is list of some common security measures that can be implemented to prevent brute force hacking:
1). Password Complexity:
- Create a complex password for your online accounts.
- Avoid using names/words/information that can be found on the internet such as Date of Birth & names of family members.
- Consider using UPPERCASE & lowercase alphabets, digits & special characters. (Augment Letters, Number & Symbols)
- The complex the password, the difficult & time-consuming the process of cracking it.
2). Password Length:
- It is one of the effective mitigating measures to the Brute Force Password Hacking Attack.
- More characters in the password increases the time of the brute force attack.
- Many websites & online platforms have enforced their users to keep passwords ranging from 8-16 characters to prevent any possible breach.
3). Limit the Login Attempts:
- Locking out the users after a few failed attempts of entering password is one of the powerful actions against Brute Force Attack.
- This method nullifies any potential Brute Force Attack in Progress.
4). Two-Factor/ Multi-factor Authentication:
- This methodology is considered as an extra later of defense that can prevent Online brute force
- Since this login attempt requires human intervention, it can used to authenticate identity to accounts & then grant access.
- This authentication is now being widely used in websites & online accounts to verify humans.
- This method prevents bots from executing any automated script to initiate Brute Force Attack.
- It can stop any potential Brute Force Attack in progress. While a brute force attack tool cannot complete a captcha, a human easily do that.