Brute force attacks, a cyber attack that entails hacker using a program to attempt a wide range of combinations of passwords, login names or other information to gain access to a system. There are many types of brute force attack, each with their own characteristics and ways of operating.
- Dictionary attacks: These attacks use a predefined list of commonly used words and phrases to generate login credentials. The software program will attempt every word in the list until it finds a match, or exhausts all of them. Dictionary attacks are very successful because many people use easy-to-guess passwords like “password” and “123456.”
- Hybrid dictionary attacks are attacks that combine elements from dictionary attacks with other techniques such as adding numbers to words or special characters at the end. This makes the attack more powerful as it expands the possible combinations the software can try.
- Rainbow table attacks: These attacks make use of pre-computed tables (mathematical representations) of data to crack passwords. The software will attempt each hash until it finds a match. Rainbow table attacks are faster than other brute force methods, but require more computing power and are less effective against complex passwords.
- Brute force attacks using masking: These attacks use a “mask”, a predetermined pattern, or set of rules to generate login credentials. The mask could specify that passwords must contain special characters and letters. The software will then attempt every combination of characters that matches these criteria until it finds one. Because masking reduces the number possible combinations, brute force attacks can be more effective.
- Distributed brute force attack: This is a method of cracking passwords using a network (often called “botnet”). Each computer will attempt a different set login credentials. The software is distributed throughout the network. This allows hackers to test more combinations of login credentials in a shorter time frame, which can speed up and make attacks more efficient.
Brute force attacks are generally less effective against complex passwords of at least 8 characters and that include special characters, numbers, letters, and combinations thereof. A different password is recommended for each account. This makes it harder for hackers to gain access to multiple networks or systems using the same login credentials. It is crucial to implement security measures like two-factor authentication and frequent password changes in order to protect yourself against cyber threats such as brute force attacks.