Using stolen credentials have been a mainstay of cyber security for years, and for good reasons. First, they might use stolen or compromised credentials to gain access to sensitive data, which they can use for financial gain or to damage the organization. They might also use this technique to place viruses or other malware on systems, or to disrupt the operations of the organization.
Second, the criminals might use stolen or compromised credentials to impersonate an employee or a member of the organization, leading to a data breach or other damage. They might also manipulate data or access systems to steal money or information.
Third, the cyber criminals might use stolen or compromised credentials to log into secure systems or networks as another user. This gives them access to data or systems that they would not otherwise have access to. They might also delete or alter data, or use the system for malicious purposes.By understanding how to properly secure access credentials, organizations can better protect themselves from cyber attacks involving stolen credentials. With the right strategies in place, credentials can be properly secured. In this blog post, we’ll explore five ways cyber criminals use this access and look at how you can prevent it.
1. Phishing attacks
One of the most common ways that cyber criminals can steal credentials is through phishing attacks. In a phishing attack, the attacker will send an email or other communication that appears to be from a legitimate source. The email will often contain a link that leads to a fake website that looks identical to a real known website or social network. The goal is to trick the user to input his credentials that of course will be delivered to the attacker who will then use the stolen credentials to gain access to the victim’s account.
To prevent phishing attacks, it is important to be aware of the signs of a phishing email. These signs include misspellings, grammatical errors, and unexpected attachments. It is also important to never click on links and attachments in emails from unknown sources. If you are unsure about the legitimacy of an email, you can always contact the sender directly to verify the email.
In organisations, structural security controls can be put in place to lower the phishing attack success rate. These include employee training, and monitoring communications. Additionally, the security of mail accounts should be monitored to prevent phishing attempts from succeeding. This includes collecting security alerts related to the users’ mail accounts and taking necessary action.
2. Malware attacks
Another common way that cyber criminals steal credentials is through malware attacks. In a malware attack, the attacker will install a piece of malware on the victim’s computer. The malware will then capture the victim’s credentials when they are entered into a website or other online service. The attacker can then use these stolen credentials to gain access to the victim’s account.
To prevent malware attacks, it is important to install a reputable antivirus program on your computer. It is also important to never click on links or attachments from unknown sources. Quite often, attackers trick the user to install a malware by displaying fake notifications on the user’s desktop, or by sending malicious emails. It is also important to keep your software up-to-date, as this will ensure that you are not exposed to any potential threats.
While an antivirus is important, enterprises can also think to invest in an EDR solution , as these can help detect and respond to advanced threats quickly. An EDR can also provide real-time monitoring of sensitive data, helping to identify potential malware installation quickly.
3. SQL injection attacks
Thrid, cyber criminals can steal credentials through SQL injection attacks. In an SQL injection attack, the attacker will insert malicious code into a website’s database using a vulnerability present on a web application for example. When the database is accessed, the code will execute and allow the attacker to access the stored credentials. To prevent SQL injection attacks, it is important to ensure that your website’s database is properly secured.
Make sure to security audit your websites and other application developped with SQL. Ensure that all inputs are properly escaped before being used in queries. This will help to prevent SQL injection attacks. Use a web application firewall to detect and block malicious inputs.Toggle technical implementations to mitigate incorrect construction of SQL statements and blind SQL injection.
4. Password guessing
Password guessing is another common technique for attackers to steal credentials. In this attack, the attacker will use a brute force attack to guess the victim’s password. The attacker will often use a list of common passwords, or a dictionary of words, to guess the right password.
To prevent password guessing attacks, it is important to use a strong password that is not easily guessed. It is also important to never use the same password at multiple websites. More enterprises implement policies and governances regarding passwords and password security, such as requiring passwords to be at least 8 characters long, containing at least 1 number and 1 uppercase letter, and not using easily guessed words or phrases.
Furthermore, passwords should be changed regularly, and sites should implement measures to alert users when their password has been guessed or stolen. Finally, multi factor authentication should be implemented for added security when accessing sensitive data or online accounts.
5. Man-in-the-middle attacks
Finally, another common way that cyber criminals use the credentials technique is through man-in-the-middle attacks. In a man-in-the-middle attack, the attacker will intercept the communication between the victim and the website. It can happen, for example, when the victim is using a public unsecure network for example. To prevent man-in-the-middle attacks, it is important to use a secure connection when accessing websites. Usage of a VPN when you are connected to a public network is also advised as it helps to protect your data from being intercepted.
We have just seen 5 ways attackers can steal credentials, but stealing credentials is only one step of an attack. An attacker that managed to obtain valid credentials can use them to access sensitive data, damage systems, or even launch other attacks. We hope this guide has helped to shed some light on how to secure your credentials. By following these tips, you can help to prevent the theft of your credentials by cyber criminals. Keeping your credentials safe from cyber criminals doesn’t have to be difficult but it is an effective way to prevent more dammage to happen.