Most web developers face a widespread threat password-guessing attack, referred to as a brute force attack. It involves an attempt to discover a password by combining different numbers, symbols and letters until you find one correct combination that is active. Brute force attacks target websites that require user authentication.
Therefore, if your website asks for user authentication, you risk a brute force attack. The hacker can always discover your password through this attack. However, this might take years, depending on the complexity and length of your password.
The brute force attack is launched by attackers using various tools which apply smart rulesets and wordlists to automatically and intelligently guess user passwords. Even though how to prevent brute force attacks is relatively easy, stopping them can be very tedious.
For instance, most brute-force tools can convey requests via several open proxy servers. These requests will appear to originate from various IP addresses, making it hard to prevent attacks by blocking IP addresses.
Here are few standard methods to on how prevent brute force attacks and how you can secure your account from hacking have been listed below. Checkout all of them and must follow.
Table of Contents
Standard and Effective Methods to Prevent Brute Force Attacks
1. Use Strong Passwords
For brute force attacks to be successful; they rely on poor passwords. A robust password will comprise of the following traits;
Long; when a password is long, the hacker will have to choose more combinations before guessing it right. Include numbers, special characters, lowercase and uppercase letters. A password of 5 characters will be pretty easy to crack on any machine; 10 characters might take a year, while 20 characters would never be discovered.
Unique; it is advisable not to reuse any password; when websites get compromised, the passwords can be easily cracked. Reusing passwords will make it easy for attackers to target you by using the details from other websites.
It isn’t easy to guess; adding snippets of credentials such as the city you live in or your name will make it easy to remember. Unfortunately, it can make it easy for someone to guess your password once they gain your personal information. The rule applies to standard text like “password” or “12345”, primarily since they are easy to remember.
When you follow these characteristics in creating your password, it will be difficult for brute force attempts to guess your password right. Thus, you will be safe against such attacks. Remember to apply the same rule to your recovery questions. If recovery questions are poor, the attackers can easily reset your password even with a strong password rather than guessing it.
2. Limit Logins to A Particular Range or IP Address
Brute force attackers will find it hard to forcefully gain access if you are allowed only from a designated IP address. They will have to put more effort to overcome the obstacle and access your website.
Limiting login access to a specific range or IP address is like securing your data using a security perimeter wall. Anyone trying to access the website without the correct IP address won’t be allowed in. As a website owner, you can achieve this by scooping a remote access port to a static IP address. You can consider configuring a VPN if you don’t have a static IP address.
3. Restrict The Number of Failed Attempts
Restricting the number of failed attempts to access the website or server will go a long way in securing your account. However, this is a double sword. Your clients and employees must never forget their passwords due to a limited number of attempts. On the other hand, automated brute force attack tools will not be practical.
4. Use Two-factor Authentication
A brute force attack will not be successful on your website when a correct password isn’t enough to access your account. Two-factor verification requires users to have a physical security key or phone to access their accounts. It will be making your account more secure due to the extra step of sending a notification to your phone for identity confirmation preventing attackers from breaking into your account.
Application-based two-step authentication is better compared to text-based notifications. However, either of them is better than using the only password.
5. Enable Captcha
Captchas will prevent automated tools and bots from performing any action on your website. It presents challenges to script and bots before attempting to log in. If you enable Captcha, you will automatically disable any script or bot from sending too many requests within a second.
It’s one of the highly effective ways to block bots, secure contact forms and login pages, thus preventing spam and overload to your server. Captchas provide problems designed for humans, making it hard for automated tools to pass them. Also, they block the brute force attacks, keeping your account safe.
6. Employ Unique Login URLs
As a content producer, create specific login URLs for various user groups. It might not stop brute force attacks, but the introduction of extra variables renders it time-consuming and challenging for a hacker.
7. Lockout Policy
Consider locking out accounts that have failed to log in several requests, then unblock them as an administrator. However, implementing this policy of locking out after many attempts to sign in fail can be ineffective. It exposes your server to denial-of-service attacks. Although it can be pretty effective if applied with progressive delays.
Locking out accounts with progressive delays blocks an account without locking it out permanently. It locks out the account only for a specific amount of time after a particular number of failed sign in attempts; this will render an automated brute force attack futile. In addition, the administrators won’t have to deal with unlocking dozens of accounts after every 10 minutes or so.
8. Monitor Server Logs
Ensure you keep analyzing your files. As an admin, you must be aware that log files are vital for maintaining a system. Employ log management applications like Logwatch to assist you in performing daily check-ups and auto-generating daily reports.
Online scams have tremendously grown with technological advancement, but you will be surprised that preventing these attacks has much to do with the human element. Preventing brute force attacks can be done by simply changing your online habits, such as creating stronger passwords and avoiding reusing them or updating URLs that are simple to guess.
You can also tighten your security by setting up two-factor authentication or securing your website with a web application firewall. Firewall assists in stopping hackers dead in their tracks