6 effective ways to prevent brute force attacks

6 effective ways to prevent brute force attacks

Brute force attacks are the term used for a method that hackers use to get access to the user account of a website. It can be the admin account or those of the regular users. It is one of the simplest ways that includes trying in multiple combinations of the username and password to gain access to the site. Bots or scripts are used for submitting the guessed combinations in short time over and over again till they get a successful breakthrough. If you can guess it, even amateurs can use this way to get hold of your credential if they are not strong enough.

 

Hacker’s motive

The main aim of the hackers behind using brute force attacks is to establish illegal access to a website under target and use it to execute an attack of other type or simply steal the data. They can also shut down the entire site if they can access the admin account. Another motive behind the usage of brute force attacks is to infect the site using malicious scripts if the hacker is focused on longer-term objectives. They can leave everything untouched and there would be no way to trace if you have been targeted. Or they can just tamper with the information of the user and use it to get hold of their financial details and exploit the same. It can kill the hard-earned reputation of a business in seconds.

 

Preventing brute force attacks

The worst part of brute force attacks is that you cannot use any software program to prevent it. But there are multiple manual ways of preventing brute force attacks on any network. Some of the most common options are mentioned below.

  1. Lengthy passwords

While some networks support 8 character passwords, some support 10 characters. Some networks are also known to support as long as 15 character passwords. Ensure that you use the full-length password as supported by the network. In case you feel it is difficult to remember, you can write it down. It obviously increases the count of possible combinations that the hacker must try to get hold of your account.

  1. Added complexity

Adding complexity to the username and the password is one of the most efficient ways of preventing brute force attacks. Apart from digits and alphabets, you can also use signs and symbols to add on the complexity. Also, consider using a combination of both uppercase and lowercase alphabets along with digits and symbols into both your username and password. It is a mandate in many cases that ensure the safety of the site as well as the user accounts.

  1. Limiting login attempts

Limiting the maximum attempts of failed login can help you bar any brute force attack. This method works to block the IP address from accessing the login page after the failed attempts have exceeded the maximum permitted limits. But you must keep in mind that it is required to add some recovery option in case that any of the genuine users of the site has been locked out due to some reason. Limiting the time on the block can be a good option as the brute attacks are generally held for a limited time period.

  1. Security questions

Brute force attacks are generally made within a short time period in repetition with the aim of striking the right combination fast. In case the security has been breached, adding a security question can significantly work as a secondary defense layer as the answer to the question cannot be generated through mere combinations. To prevent deterioration of user experience, adding this feature after a particular count of failed attempts is one of the best options to consider.

  1. 2-step authentication

Though it is not ideal for all businesses, it can effectively work to increase the security of your users. The deterioration of the user experience is worth the safety you provide for them. But including this option as an additional security feature especially in the cases of users who are more concerned about their security is a great choice. You can simply opt for a text message or email verification or use social media to verify the authenticity of the user,

  1. CAPTCHAs

Completely Automated Public Turing tests to tell Computers and Humans Apart (CAPTCHA) have earned a lot of popularity in recent times though it has been around in the industry for over two decades. It is one of the most efficient ways to prevent bots from logging in to the website as a human user. The most common CAPTCHA tests include writing a distorted text, clicking checkboxes or answering simple questions.

These are some of the most widely used ways of preventing brute force attacks. The other options that you can also consider include integrating a time delay between repeated login attempts, using multiple login URLs that are unique and modifying the file of .htaccess. It is advisable to not use same username and password in multiple places. You can research more on the web to find out even more ways or subscribe to our web security services to prevent brute force attacks on your website.

About the Author
Wei Xin
Digital Marketer in Signetique specialised in Domain Name, Web Hosting, Cloud Hosting, VPS, Dedicated Server and Web Security

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