Distressingly, hackers possess several password attack methods to circumvent your enterprise single-factor authentication. To better improve your identity and access management, you need to understand these methods.
Keep in mind: hackers often embrace hybrid methods and unique variations on all of these password attack methods. Don’t let yourself get overwhelmed; focus on staying informed on the most common methods.
3 Password Attack Methods:-
Brute Force Attack
a brute-force attack consists of an attacker submitting many passwords or passphrases with the hope of eventually guessing a combination correctly. The attacker systematically checks all possible passwords and passphrases until the correct one is found. Alternatively, the attacker can attempt to guess the key which is typically created from the password using a key derivation function. This is known as an exhaustive key search.
3. A brute-force attack is a cryptanalytic attack that can, in theory, be used to attempt to decrypt any encrypted data (except for data encrypted in an information-theoretically secure manner). Such an attack might be used when it is not possible to take advantage of other weaknesses in an encryption system (if any exist) that would make the task easier.
4. When password-guessing, this method is very fast when used to check all short passwords, but for longer passwords other methods such as the dictionary attack are used because a brute-force search takes too long. Longer passwords, passphrases and keys have more possible values and even more combinations, making them exponentially more difficult to crack than shorter ones.
5. Brute-force attacks can be made less effective by obfuscating the data to be encoded making it more difficult for an attacker to recognize when the code has been cracked or by making the attacker do more work to test each guess. One of the measures of the strength of an encryption system is how long it would theoretically take an attacker to mount a successful brute-force attack against it.
A dictionary attack is a method of breaking into a password-protected computer or server by systematically entering every word in a dictionary as a password. A dictionary attack can also be used in an attempt to find the key necessary to decrypt an encrypted message or document.
Dictionary attacks work because many computer users and businesses insist on using ordinary words as passwords. Dictionary attacks are rarely successful against systems that employ multiple-word phrases, and unsuccessful against systems that employ random combinations of uppercase and lowercase letters mixed up with numerals. In those systems, the brute-force method of attack (in which every possible combination of characters and spaces is tried up to a certain maximum length) can sometimes be effective, although this approach can take a long time to produce results.
Vulnerability to password or decryption-key assaults can be reduced to near zero by limiting the number of attempts allowed within a given period of time, and by wisely choosing the password or key. For example, if only three attempts are allowed and then a period of 15 minutes must elapse before the next three attempts are allowed, and if the password or key is a long, meaningless jumble of letters and numerals, a system can be rendered immune to dictionary attacks and practically immune to brute-force attacks.
A form of dictionary attack is often used by spammers. A message is sent to e-mail addresses consisting of words or names, followed by the at symbol (@), followed by the name of a particular domain. Long lists of given names (such as frank, george, judith, or donna) and/or individual letters of the alphabet followed by surnames (such as csmith, jwilson, or pthomas) in combination with a domain name are usually effective.
Rainbow Table Attack
The passwords in a computer system are not stored directly as plain texts, but are hashed using encryption. A hash function is a 1-way function, which means that it can’t be decrypted. Whenever a user enters a password, it is converted into a hash value and is compared with the already stored hash value. If the values match, the user is authenticated.
A rainbow table is a database that is used to gain authentication by cracking the password hash. It is a precomputed dictionary of plaintext passwords and their corresponding hash values that can be used to find out what plaintext password produces a particular hash. Since more than one text can produce the same hash, it’s not important to know what the original password really was, as long as it produces the same hash.
How does the Rainbow Table Attack work?
A rainbow table works by doing a cryptanalysis very quickly and effectively. Unlike bruteforce attack, which works by calculating the hash function of every string present with them, calcuating their hash value and then compare it with the one in the computer, at every step. A rainbow table attack eliminates this need by already computing hashes of the large set of available strings. There are two main steps in this:
Creating a Table
Here, the hash of a string is taken and then reduced to create a new string, which is reduced again, repeatedly. For example, let’s create a table of the most common password, 12345678, using MD5 hash function on first 8 characters: