Approximately 80% of all cyber attacks are brute force attacks, thanks to how successful they are in discovering weak passwords, especially for web applications. Additional evidence from the 2021 Data Breach Investigations Report shows that 89% of attempts to hack web applications use stolen credentials or brute-force attacks to abuse credentials.
In fact, recent research shows that in a typical week, about 10% of organizations are attacked by brute force. For instance, between May and mid-June of 2021, the number of attacks went up by 160%, to a weekly average of 26%, which was the highest number ever recorded. This means that every week, cybercriminals tried to take over the email accounts of one-quarter of all companies by using brute force attacks. The same research shows that during the busiest week, which was the week of June 6, 2021, the number of brute force attacks rose by 671% over the previous week's average, meaning cyber criminals used brute force attacks against 32.5% of all organizations.
Since the amount of time it takes for a brute force attack to work goes up exponentially, not linearly, password length is usually the most important factor in figuring out how safe a password is. Since most brute force algorithms aren't completely random and give more weight to dictionary words and common passwords, it's also important to enforce password policies that request passwords be complex.
Here’s a rundown of some of the most damaging and well-known brute-force attacks for several industries:
If a brute force attack works, it could lead to unauthorized access, data theft, accounts or systems being taken over, the spread of malware, and more which may lead to dramatic negative results for any company. Some of the brute force possible scenarios include:
Profit from Ads. A hacker may use brute force to attack a website or several websites in order to make money from advertising commission.
Destroy a Company or Website’s Reputation. Brute force attacks are often launched in an attempt to steal data from an organization, which not only costs them financially but also causes huge reputational damage. Websites can also be targeted with attacks that infest them with obscene or offensive text and images, thereby denigrating their reputation, which could lead to them being taken down.
Steal Personal Data. Hacking into a user's personal account can give hackers access to a wealth of information, from their finances and bank accounts to private medical information. If an attacker gets access to a person's account, they can steal their money, sell their login information to third parties, or use the information to launch larger attacks. Personal information and login credentials can also be stolen when hackers get into sensitive corporate databases through data breaches.
Spread Malware. Most of the time, attacks of force are not personal. A hacker may just want to cause trouble and show off how bad they are. They might do this by sending malware through email or SMS (Short Message Service) messages, hiding malware on a fake website that looks like a real one, or sending website visitors to malicious sites.
By putting malware on a user's computer, an attacker can gain access to other systems and networks and launch larger cyberattacks against organizations.
Override Security Protocols for Malicious Purposes. Malicious people can use a group of devices, called a botnet, to launch broader attacks by using brute force attacks. Usually, this is a distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attack that tries to overwhelm the security systems and defenses of the target.
Destroy a Company’s Reputation. Brute force attacks are often launched in an attempt to steal data from an organization, which not only costs them financially but also causes huge reputational damage. Websites can also be targeted with attacks that infest them with obscene or offensive text and images, thereby denigrating their reputation, which could lead to them being taken down.
With brute force attacks, there are two main issues:
Typically, to carry out any of these scenarios, brute force attacks employ massive computing resources. To tackle this, hackers have built hardware solutions that simplify the process, such as integrating the central processing unit (CPU) and graphics processing unit (GPU) of a device (GPU). Adding the computing engine of the GPU enables a system to handle multiple tasks simultaneously and dramatically increases the rate at which hackers can crack passwords.
AI EdgeLabs is rooted in Machine Learning algorithms that allow the platform to detect even the slightest anomaly. Several things can be done with AI EdgeLabs’ machine learning models to deal with the risks and threats of brute force attacks:
Next, we’ll review in detail how the AI EdgeLabs dashboard provides unique value when it comes to brute force attacks.
The AI EdgeLabs dashboard delivers the following capabilities that make it seamless to see, understand and act upon threats, risks, and attacks.
Whether brute force attacks happen often or rarely, organizations looking to take concrete steps to improve security will need more than just stopping an attack. For this reason, it’s important to look closely at the reasons and attack vectors behind an attack. Leveraging the AI EdgeLabs easy-to-use dashboard, organizations can see, filter, and learn more about data and how an attack happened.
With details about elements such as user account, source IP, hostname, server, IoT device, and more, organizations can visualize information quickly and accurately to take immediate action. Organizations can also filter data, segment, or identify patterns and data relationships.
Also, the AI EdgeLabs dashboard has a dedicated space for Security Operations Teams to gain extensive knowledge about attack and security weaknesses. The dashboard provides visualization tools for advanced attack surface visibility and recommends mitigation actions.
The AI EdgeLabs dashboard allows organizations to historically visualize attack velocity and system impact with robust settings for automated incident response.
The AI EdgeLabs extended detection and response (XDR) platform provides users with advanced network visibility. It quickly and accurately tells genuine, legitimate traffic from unwanted, anomalous, unauthorized traffic. Most brute force attacks are performed by malicious bots, so having a dedicated XDR platform look after your traffic goes a long way toward stopping the issue at its source.
Overall, the best protection against brute force attacks is monitoring to stop attacks before they even have a chance to cause harm. AI EdgeLabs constantly monitors your edge network, IoT devices, endpoints, servers, and all of your infrastructure with the help of tailored-made threat models and intelligence software to watch out for known and unknown signals of a brute force attack, and any other cyber attack for that matter. If a brute force attack is found, the ML model automatically sends out alerts and blocks the IP address or addresses that were used in the attack. This stops the attacker from trying again.