We live in an internet-driven world. Most of us have web browsing handy on our mobile phones, and most of the work we require can be performed online. The convenience of information at our fingertips has made accessing personal information as easy as a click of a button.
Malicious cybercriminals have used this digital convenience to their advantage and run rampant with exploits online for various malicious intents, such as sending spam emails that spread malware or stealing personal information through phishing scams.
But those are not new forms of attacks. A newer threat vector is in the growing stage, and it’s called credential stuffing attacks.
What is credential stuffing? How does it work? Is there a way to mitigate this risk? We’ll dive into all that and more in this article. Read on!
What is credential stuffing?
Credential stuffing is a new form of user identity attack that has grown in popularity over the last two years. It’s responsible for massive data breaches and can potentially harm thousands of users.
It works by bots scraping popular websites and logging into accounts with common passwords. E-commerce sites are more vulnerable to such attacks since they contain information related to credit cards.
In fact, the findings revealed that 91% of login traffic in the e-commerce industry was associated with credential-stuffing attacks.
How do credential-stuffing attacks work?
Credential-stuffing attacks: a hacker’s way of breaking into your digital life with just a list of usernames and passwords. Imagine a burglar armed with a sack of keys, trying each until they find the one that opens your front door. That’s exactly how credential stuffing works.
The hacker starts by obtaining a list of login credentials through data breaches or purchasing them on the dark web. They then use automation tools to barrage websites with these credentials, hoping to find a match. When they succeed, they gain access to the victim’s account, causing chaos and destruction.
Let’s take an example. You’ve been using the same password for multiple accounts, and your social media profile gets hacked one day. The hacker posts embarrassing things on your page, and you spend the next few hours cleaning up the mess. How did this happen? Chances are, your login credentials were part of a data breach, and the hacker used them in a credential-stuffing attack.
It’s a frightening thought, but it happens more often than you think since most data breaches result from weak or reused passwords. So, how do you protect yourself? The answer is simple: use unique and strong passwords for each account and enable two-factor authentication.
In a nutshell, credential-stuffing attacks are a thief’s favorite tool, but with a few precautions, you can secure your digital life. Don’t be a sitting duck. Take action now. Keep your passwords safe, and lock the door to your digital life.
Why are these attacks successful?
Credential stuffing attacks are successful because they rely on users’ tendency to reuse their credentials.
We’ve all done it – trying to sign in to a new website with the same password we use for our bank account or another site where we have an account. The problem is, if the site you’re signing up for is vulnerable to credential stuffing attacks, then anyone can use those same credentials to sign in as you and take over your account!
A shocking 81% of hacking-related breaches come from Internet credential theft, and this is not surprising given that 85% of folks admitted to reusing passwords on multiple sites.
This is why it’s so important to use unique passwords for every site you visit and not reuse them. This way, if one site has a security breach, your accounts won’t be compromised by hackers trying to access sites with similar passwords.
Why is this a big deal?
Credential stuffing attacks are a big deal because they’re cheap and easy to execute and give attackers access to far more sensitive information than they would otherwise be able to obtain.
The fact that credential-stuffing attacks are so cheap and easy to execute makes them so dangerous. Attackers don’t need to do anything special – they just need access to a list of passwords that have been leaked or stolen.
Then they can simply try them against other services for which those same passwords may be valid. These attacks can happen at scale, with thousands or even millions of accounts being targeted at once.
In addition to being affordable and easy, these attacks can yield incredibly valuable information from the information they gather. Because many companies keep detailed records on their customers’ personal information including credit card numbers and social security numbers, when a credential stuffing attack compromises an account, it gives attackers access not only to your email address but also your credit card number and social security number (or other personally identifiable information).
This makes credential-stuffing attacks very lucrative for attackers, who can use this information with other breached credentials such as usernames and passwords to create complete profiles of their victims’ identities.
How can you mitigate the risk of credential-stuffing attacks?
There are multiple ways you can mitigate the risk of credential-stuffing attacks, including:
1. Use multi-factor authentication to prevent unauthorized access to your account.
Multi-factor authentication is a must when it comes to securing your account. With this extra layer of security, you can ensure that unauthorized access won’t be possible, even if a hacker manages to get hold of your password. Make sure to enable this feature on all your accounts to prevent any potential security breaches.
2. Educate yourself about how credential-stuffing attacks work and how to protect against them.
Stay ahead of the game by educating yourself about credential-stuffing attacks. Know how these attacks work and what you can do to protect yourself. The more you know about the potential threats, the better equipped you will be to defend against them. Don’t be a sitting duck, become a cybersecurity ninja.
3. Make sure that any third-party applications or services you use have practices to protect against credential-stuffing attacks.
When it comes to third-party applications and services, it’s crucial to verify that they have proper security measures in place to defend against credential-stuffing attacks. Don’t just take their word for it, do your research and make sure they have practices in place to protect your data. Remember, trust but verify.
4. Limit the number of unsuccessful logins attempts you allow per user.
Limiting the number of unsuccessful login attempts is an excellent way to prevent credential-stuffing attacks. By setting a maximum limit, you can ensure that hackers won’t be able to guess your password through brute force.
5. Monitor logins and alert your security operations team to anomalies in normal login activity.
Regularly monitoring logins and alerting your security operations team to any anomalies in normal login activity is another essential step in protecting yourself against credential-stuffing attacks. Stay vigilant, and if anything seems out of the ordinary, don’t hesitate to reach out to your security team for assistance.
Protect your online accounts proactively, and never reuse passwords!
At the end of the day, it comes down to awareness. Whether or not you’re a company or a consumer, the best protection method is knowing what’s out there and being attentive to your security and that of others. Credential stuffing attacks are rising, but so are defenses against them. You just need to be aware of what you’re doing and why.
It’s time to get proactive about your security. Connect with us today to secure yourself and your business against credential-stuffing attacks.