Business Cyber Security

The 8 Most Common Tricks Used to Hack Passwords

Last year the United States saw more cyberattacks on businesses, individuals, and the government, than ever before. By targeting weak spots in your online security, these attacks can put your business at serious risk.

Some attacks with target clients and customer data, while others may be used to access your financial records. Whatever the purpose of the attack, a single cyber attack can cost a small business $200,000. So it’s not something you should take lightly.

Fortunately, understanding the weaknesses of hacked accounts can help you secure your business. So what are you waiting for?

Read on to find out eight common hacking methods that could create serious password protection problems for your business’ digital security.

1. Dictionary Attacks

Most common passwords require you to use a combination of letters and numbers. To make a password easier to remember, people often use a whole word. However, this can become a serious issue if you are targeted by a dictionary attacker.

Dictionary attacks (as the name might suggest) use software that generates any words that appear in the dictionary. The software can then run this through a business security system very quickly to try out different passwords.

It can even combine existing words without gaps. So phrases won’t be any more secure than single words.

2. Brute Force Attacks

Brute force attacks allow hackers to delve ever deeper than dictionary attacks.

These use software that detects and creates a non-dictionary word, letter, and number combinations. The software then runs this through your security network until it finds the right passwords.

The longer your password, the longer a brute force attack will take. However, the software will eventually crack it. This is why having other security software in place for your business is important.

3. Phishing

Your business may already have some sort of scam protection in place to stop people’s inboxes from getting clogged with fake emails. However, scam protection is also a vital part of phishing protection.

Phishing involves sending fake emails to people to try and get a record of their login details. Often these emails will look very official and will offer people a link to a fake login page. They’ll also give an urgent reason why someone needs to log into their account immediately.

Once you have entered your details, these are then recorded for later use by hackers.

4. Social Engineering Attacks

Social engineering attacks work a little like phishing in that people will be asked directly for their login details. However, these involve hackers calling up the person in question to ask them.

Often they will pose as a member of an IT security team or someone else in an official role. Because they seem to be a figure of authority, a lot of people will hand over their details all too gladly.

5. Malware

If you have taken the time to install even the most basic security software, you will probably be familiar with the concept of malware. This is another word for a computer virus.

Once hacking malware has access to your system, it runs in the background and records what you type. The malware can even take screenshots of the login processes on your company machines.

This lets hackers gather all of the information they need to access your business accounts.

6. Offline Password Cracking

One common part of online security systems involves limiting the number of times that a person can try to log in. For example, if you enter the wrong password three times, you can be blocked from the account completely.

This stops them from running hundreds of passwords through the system. In theory, this should help to prevent people from using brute force or the dictionary technique.

However, now a lot of hackers use compromised systems for offline cracking. These systems won’t trigger a new security alert. So offline cracking means hackers can enter as many passwords as they like until they find the right one.

7. Spidering Techniques

Spidering hacking involves looking out for clues that could tell them about a company’s passwords. This is because a lot of businesses use words relating to the business to make them more memorable.

Hackers create and use applications to look through your business’:

  • Website
  • Sales material
  • Literature
  • Customer lists
  • Building plans and location

From this, they can gather lists of keywords that could narrow down their password search. This is why it is important to choose business passwords as randomly as possible.

8. Old Fashioned Guess Work

Of course, when it comes to choosing a password, people do rarely choose something at random.

Choosing something familiar makes it much easier to remember. Unfortunately, it also makes it easier for hackers to guess this information.

For example, they only need to find out basic personal information about you to know your birthdate and home town.

Savvy hackers will also know exactly where to dig to find personal information that might help them crack your password. This might include looking on social media at your interests or finding out the names of your friends and family.

Because of this, it’s important to choose passwords that aren’t immediately obvious. If you want to choose something more memorable, try to create a code for it rather than using a whole word within your password.

Strengthen Your Online Security Today

As you can see, when it comes to your business security, there are plenty of ways that hackers can create password problems. Understanding these can help you to create the best possible passwords for your business accounts.

For more help with your online security, get in touch today. We’re happy to help!

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