Cybersecurity is essential for individuals and businesses. If attackers get into your personal and business accounts, they can take your money or ruin your business. It is, therefore, essential that you take as much care of your online safety as you do for your offline security. Just like you have doors to keep out intruders, you need to have software to ensure intruders do not get into your system or your accounts. That will protect your personal information and ensure that you do not lose your money.
There are various ways that attackers can get into user accounts including, credential stuffing and credential cracking. They can also use phishing attacks to collect your personal information and access your account. The most popular way for attackers to get into user accounts is credential stuffing. That attack relies on the fact that people tend to use the same password over several services, making them vulnerable. If an attacker can use your credential to access your social media, they know they can quickly get into your email account too.
What Is Credential Stuffing?
Credential stuffing is a cyber-attack where attackers use stolen account information to try to log into your accounts. The credentials could also be from a leak and are usually sold or published on the dark web. The attackers can enter the login details manually, but using bots automates the process. That ensures that they can access many accounts at the same time. As mentioned above, this attack is usually successful, and credential stuffing bots can access up to 8% of accounts, depending on the service they are targeting.
How Is A Credential Stuffing Attack Carried Out?
Here are the steps attackers take in a credential stuffing attack.
- The attacker first buys a list of credentials from other fraudsters on the dark web. These could have been stolen in a data breach or leaked.
- They then set up a bot to automatically access a variety of accounts simultaneously using fake IP addresses.
- The hackers check whether the credentials work on a variety of websites. That ensures that they do not waste time accessing one service at a time.
- When the bots are set up and trying to get into several services, the attacker can sit back and regularly check whether any logins are successful. They will siphon personally identifiable information and other data that they can sell to other fraudsters.
- Afterward, they will hold on to the validated credentials to use later or sell to other fraudsters on the internet. Bear in mind that validated credentials sell for a higher price on the dark web.
The Goal of Credential Stuffing
Hackers have a lot to gain from a successful credential stuffing attack including, the following.
They can use your money or credit card information to purchase items for themselves on the internet. These can include shopping sprees that can raise your credit card bill astronomically.
They can also sell the validated credentials and the personal information they have gained to other fraudsters on the internet.
Credential Stuffing Prevention
From the information above, it is clear that hackers continuously try to access your business and personal accounts. It is, therefore, essential to take steps to stop credential stuffing. Here are ways to prevent credential stuffing attacks.
Use Unique Passwords For Every Service
Credential stuffing benefits from people reusing the same credentials for a variety of services. That means a hacker can easily access your online banking and eCommerce sites if they have access to your social media credentials. It is, therefore, necessary to create unique passwords for every service you register for. That may seem impossible considering the average person uses at least 50 services.
It does not seem possible to remember all those unique passwords. However, all you need to do is create a personal encryption rule. That encryption rule will make it possible for you to create unique passwords that will be easy for you to remember. You can also use password managers like LastPass. They can store your passwords and provide your logins when you need them.
Use Web Application Firewalls
Web application firewalls are a great way to prevent credential stuffing attacks. Make sure that your service providers use an excellent Web Application Firewall that can detect bot traffic. Although WAFs do not prevent credential stuffing, they can identify suspicious attempts to login into your website. That ensures you can stop the attackers before they get into your system and take over user accounts.
Limit Authentication Requests
You can use location, IP address, time frame, and devices to limit authentication requests. That is a good idea that ensures one person cannot attempt to access your accounts more than a few times. Bear in mind, limiting login attempts should be done on several levels to ensure success. That is because bots keep varying their IP addresses. It is the reason why banks are strict about login attempts.
If you have three failed attempts, they block your account, and you have to visit your local branch to have it reactivated. Make sure that you restrict the number of failed attempts on your service. It is not advisable to lock the account, but you can limit the number of consecutive failed attempts to three every hour. That will discourage the attackers. Ensure that you also have an alert system that ensures you get an alert when there is suspicious activity on your website.
Screen Your Use Accounts
It is advisable to screen your user accounts against a database of any leaked credentials. Hackers publish leaked credentials on the dark web, and you can use them to check whether any of your user accounts have been compromised.
If you find a match, make sure you inform the user to change their passwords immediately. You can also enter your email address on sites like HaveIBeenPwned.com to check whether your email address is exposed. Ensure that you change your password if your account is compromised.
Credential stuffing can ruin your business or your personal life. It is, therefore, essential that you take the above steps to protect yourself and your business. Ensure that you remind your clients to use unique passwords to ensure that they are not victims of credential stuffing.