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Password spraying attacks can be a serious risk for both individuals and businesses. With the very real problem of password recycling and the widespread compromising of login credentials across the globe, protecting passwords is more important than ever.
In this guide, we’ll cover password spraying attacks, what they are, how to detect them, and how to protect yourself or your business from becoming a victim of these powerful cyberthreats.
Password Spraying (or, a Password Spray Attack) is when an attacker uses common passwords to attempt to access several accounts on one domain. Using a list of common passwords, such as 123456, password1, and more, an attacker can potentially access hundreds of accounts in one attack if the users aren’t using strong passwords.
The reason for this is that the majority of individuals use the commonly-used passwords and weak passwords on multiple websites, applications and systems. Cybercriminals dictionary these common passwords as the arsenal for their attacks.
Cybercriminals can gain access to several accounts at once, giving them access to business or personal accounts and personal information. Imagine a cybercriminal getting into just one-third of your business’s accounts. They could have access to:
The danger of password spraying is only increased due to the frequent misuse of common passwords. Over 65% of internet users reuse their passwords across multiple or all of their accounts. Now you can see why password spraying can be so effective—it only takes a few people using poor passwords to jeopardize an entire business.
Password spray attacks are typically carried out with a spraying toolkit (a collection of software tools or a single program) and by gathering usernames from a directory or an open source. The toolkit is used with some commands to usurp the usernames and then spray a list of common passwords in an attempt to break into accounts.
Another common attack is credential stuffing, which is similar to password spraying, but with some key differences. Instead of cycling through common passwords, credential stuffing is where full verified credentials (typically username + password) are revealed, often from another system’s data breach, and are “stuffed” into a different system’s login portal.
Detecting a password spray attack early on can give you ample time to react and protect your accounts. Here’s how.
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