Brute force attacks get initiated with automated software used for guessing a password or just an answer in order to get behind a locked “digital door.” This automated software will be able to run billions of combinations of numbers, symbols, and letters over and over again until it becomes statistically correct and succeeds in cracking the code.
When the encryption on the data is higher, it takes a long time to break through the door and obtain the wanted data. Sometimes it can just take a few minutes, but there are chances for it to go on for years before it can break the code. Brute force attacks are considered to be majorly dangerous as they can affect millions of accounts and ruin the reputation of any business.
It is very complicated to manually carry out brute force attacks. Hackers write simple scripts, known as bots, which are responsible for executing several break-in attempts against websites on auto-pilot. These bots are normally custom-written by the attackers and are simple in design so that they can be easily distributed across several hacked machines. These groups of bots (or botnets) work in conjunction with other regularly accessible tools that either use a wordlist or produce thousands of passwords. Very simple entry-level programming is required to write these codes, hence it can be accessed by anyone who may want to try their hand at malicious code-writing. These bots will have to set up some parameters (e.g., access your website’s login form), implement a request (try a password/username combination) and check the response. This will be repeated until it is successful.
Brute force attacks on your website can continue forever, until the bot either discovers a password/username combination that will allow the attacker into the back end of your website, or the bot runs out of passwords to check.
What do Hackers Gain from a Brute Force Attack?
After gaining access to your website, attackers will be able to use its files and the web host server to create huge damage via malicious behavior, including:
Your website may display links to spam websites and/or spam content.
- Stealing system resources:
With attackers using your web server’s resources, they will be able to perform tasks such as email campaigns, etc.
There are a group of attackers, especially young people who are just bored and find the act of hacking into a stranger’s website as entertaining, chiefly in the case of brute force attacks, which are very simple to learn and carry out.
- Malware distribution:
Your website’s pages may infect your visitors with ransomware, viruses, and malware.
Accessing your domain name may cause your visitors to gets redirected to malicious websites, or to pages containing affiliate links in order to make money for the hackers.
Your website may display unwanted and even malicious content. Your own content could get deleted, and your website can be completely taken down.
Common Ways to Prevent Brute Force Attacks
- Login attempts: Adding login attempts will lock out a user for a particular time frame. That is, if a user tries to make too many login attempts he/she will be denied access if it exceeds a specified amount of attempts in inputting usernames/passwords.
- Creating complex passwords: When you have a very strong and complex password, attackers may fail to guess them or even take a long time to guess it and eventually give up on attacking your website. There are indeed a few websites that will need passwords of 8-16 characters, with at least one number, letter, and special characters. These websites will not even allow users to have their username, name or ID in their password.
- Two-factor authentication: This additional layer of security requires two forms of authentication. For instance, to sign in to a new Apple device, users will have to put in their Apple ID along with a six-digit code that is displayed on another one of their devices earlier marked as trusted.
- Captchas: These are boxes which will display a box with warped text and asks the user to type out the text in the box. This prevents bots from implementing the automated scripts that appear in brute force attacks, while still being easy for a human to pass by.
A good way to secure against brute force attacks is to use all or a blend of the above-discussed web security strategies. One of the most effective and automatic ways to prevent these attacks and many more is to install a reliable Web Application Firewall (WAF) capable of monitoring, filtering, and blocking web traffic to-and-from a business’s web applications. This technology helps in preventing common cyberattacks using file inclusions, brute force attacks, SQL injection, and cross-site scripting (XSS).
We at Comodo will help you to fight and prevent brute force attacks by giving you are efficient WAF through the Comodo cWatch Web Security Platform. The Comodo WAF is capable of eliminating application vulnerabilities and protecting web applications and websites against attacks like Denial-of-Service (DDoS), brute force attacks, SQL Injection, and Cross-Site Scripting. Available with vulnerability scanning, malware scanning, and automatic virtual patching and hardening engines, the Comodo WAF will provide your website with robust security that is wholly managed for customers as part of the Comodo cWatch Web solution.
Key Features of the Comodo WAF
- Zero Day Immediate Response
This WAF provides consistent updates of virtual patches for all websites under management and instant response to apply a patch for the zero day attacks when they become known to the public.
- Distributed Denial of Service Protection
Globally-distributed Anycast network enables efficient distribution of traffic. It blocks all non-HTTP/HTTPS-based traffic, with a current network capacity in excess of 1 TB/s. Each PoP has multiple 100G and 10G ports, designed to scale and absorb extremely huge attacks.
- Malicious Bot and Brute Force Prevention
This WAF blocks malicious bots and brute force attacks from websites. It provides protection for account registration forms and login pages from different attack vectors including protection from application denial of service, web scraping, and reconnaissance attacks.
- Stop Website Attacks and Hacks
Vulnerable websites are protected by detecting and removing malicious requests and stopping hack attempts. This WAF also focuses on application targeting attacks, for example, WordPress and plugins, Drupal, Joomla etc.