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Thursday, 10 August 2023 - Thursday, 10 August 2023

What Is A Brute Force Attack, And What Is It Used For?

A brute force attack is a type of cyberattack commonly employed by attackers.

Brute force attacks are a method of attack aiming to find the correct data eventually. In brute force attacks, the goal is to pass various data through the targeted user. This data could be a username, a hidden website, a password, or a message, and it could also be a key used for encrypting a connection. Attackers use a trial-and-error method to attempt to match the correct data.

Although relatively older than other cyber attack methods, brute force attacks remain effective. Attackers frequently use this old but efficient method. Using this method, cybercriminals and hackers attempt to obtain valuable information ranging from personal data to corporate details.

The time it takes to crack passwords can vary depending on length and complexity. Some passwords and security measures require significantly longer durations.

While specific passwords and security measures can be cracked in seconds by hackers, breaking others might result in attacks lasting months or even years.
While specific passwords and security measures can be cracked in seconds by hackers, breaking others might result in attacks lasting months or even years.

Tools and Methods Used by Attackers in Brute Force Attacks

Identifying a specific user's or a website's password can take considerable time. Therefore, cyber attackers have developed tools to expedite this process for such attacks.

Dictionaries are the most straightforward brute force attack tools. Some cyber attackers use dictionaries that contain words without any omissions, including special characters and numbers, and try additional words. Others use more complex custom dictionaries. However, these dictionaries come with relatively more challenging usage.

In basic brute force attacks, hackers choose a target and try possible passwords for that username. These attacks are also known as dictionary attacks.

Reverse brute force attacks start with a known password, such as passwords available or leaked on the internet, and reverse the attack by searching for millions of usernames until a match is found.

Additionally, some automated tools assist in brute force attacks. Some of these tools that should be avoided include:

  • Brutus
  • Medusa
  • THC Hydra
  • Ncrack
  • John the Ripper
  • Aircrack-ng
  • Rainbow

Many of these tools can find passwords composed of words from dictionaries within seconds. Attackers using these tools can block or disrupt numerous computer systems and protocols like FTP, MySQL, SMTP, and Telnet. Consequently, attackers can crack Wi-Fi modem passwords, discover weak passwords, and obtain passwords from encrypted storage devices.

Some tools and programs scan rainbow tables, which are precomputed tables of the outputs of hash functions used to convert passwords into long strings of characters of letters and numbers of the same length.

Brute Force Attempts With GPU Acceleration

Combining CPU and GPU processing harnesses the power of the thousands of processing cores in GPUs, accelerating processing power and increasing capacity. This enables systems to perform multiple tasks concurrently. GPUs are used for more intensive applications such as processing, analysis, engineering, and other computational steps.

Therefore, GPUs can crack passwords about 250 times faster than relying solely on CPU power.
Therefore, GPUs can crack passwords about 250 times faster than relying solely on CPU power.

How Can I Create a Secure Password?

Passwords created by users on the internet should be a combination of symbols, letters, and numbers whenever possible. Additionally, these passwords should be at least ten characters long. This increases the possibilities to around 171.3 sextillion combinations. It would take a supercomputer several weeks to crack such a password. However, if a GPU processor attempting 10.3 billion hash calculations per second is used, cracking the password would take approximately 526 years.

Not all websites may accept passwords of this length. In such cases, users should create complex passwords instead of using a single word. Avoiding common passwords and periodically changing passwords for frequently used accounts is important for security.

How Can I Test the Security of My Password?

There are reliable tools available to test password security. One of the most popular tools is the password checker from the renowned cybersecurity and technology company Kaspersky. Using the tool is relatively straightforward. Once you input your password securely into the designated field, the program will provide insights into the strength, frequency of use, complexity, and length of your password. You can visit the Kaspersky Password Checker website to use this tool.

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