Password attacks are one of the most common forms of corporate and personal data breach. A password attack is simply when a hacker trys to steal your password. In 2020, 81% of data breaches were due to compromised credentials. Because passwords can only contain so many letters and numbers, passwords are becoming less safe. Hackers know that many passwords are poorly designed, so password attacks will remain a method of attack as long as passwords are being used.
Protect yourself from password attacks with the information below.
Phishing is when a hacker posing as a trustworthy party sends you a fraudulent email, hoping you will reveal your personal information voluntarily. Sometimes they lead you to fake "reset your password" screens; other times, the links install malicious code on your device. We highlight several examples on the OneLogin blog.
Here are a few examples of phishing:
To avoid phishing attacks, follow these steps:
Man-in-the middle (MitM) attacks are when a hacker or compromised system sits in between two uncompromised people or systems and deciphers the information they're passing to each other, including passwords. If Alice and Bob are passing notes in class, but Jeremy has to relay those notes, Jeremy has the opportunity to be the man in the middle. Similarly, in 2017, Equifax removed its apps from the App Store and Google Play store because they were passing sensitive data over insecure channels where hackers could have stolen customer information.
To help prevent man-in-the-middle attacks:
If a password is equivalent to using a key to open a door, a brute force attack is using a battering ram. A hacker can try 2.18 trillion password/username combinations in 22 seconds, and if your password is simple, your account could be in the crosshairs.
To help prevent brute force attacks:
A type of brute force attack, dictionary attacks rely on our habit of picking "basic" words as our password, the most common of which hackers have collated into "cracking dictionaries." More sophisticated dictionary attacks incorporate words that are personally important to you, like a birthplace, child's name, or pet's name.
To help prevent a dictionary attack:
If you've suffered a hack in the past, you know that your old passwords were likely leaked onto a disreputable website. Credential stuffing takes advantage of accounts that never had their passwords changed after an account break-in. Hackers will try various combinations of former usernames and passwords, hoping the victim never changed them.
To help prevent credential stuffing:
Keyloggers are a type of malicious software designed to track every keystroke and report it back to a hacker. Typically, a user will download the software believing it to be legitimate, only for it to install a keylogger without notice.
To protect yourself from keyloggers:
The best way to fix a password attack is to avoid one in the first place. Ask your IT professional about proactively investing in a common security policy that includes: