Reality Check: How Adversaries Use Unsecured Passwords to Crack into Enterprise Systems
By: Mohie Ahmed
Weak passwords have long been the Achilles heel of IT teams, and despite all the best intentions, corporate policies, education, and workarounds, passwords aren’t going away any time soon. There is some buzz around password-less access, but there are good arguments to suggest that passwords should play a fundamental role in authenticating access.
While biometric data, facial and fingerprint scanning will improve security in the future, passwords are personal and portable and cannot be taken away – unless those passwords are easily guessed.
It is the combination of passwords and multi-factor authentication (including bio-related) that can dramatically reduce the odds of having an infrastructure taken over or assets stolen.
Passwords continue to get the most press when it comes to hacks, whether those passwords are shared accidentally or intentionally, or stolen. Until advanced access technologies (iris scanning, facial recognition, voice biometrics, fingerprint, etc.) are affordable and manageable, for the foreseeable future, passwords are here to stay.
For end-users, they are easy (or should be). However, that simplicity combined with ubiquity is what makes passwords attractive to cybercriminals, who have multiple approaches, including these top five:
- Phishing, a social engineering trick which attempts to trick users into supplying their credentials to what they believe is a genuine request from a legitimate site or vendor.
- Credential Stuffing or testing databases or lists of stolen credentials against multiple accounts to find a match.
- Password Spraying, using a list of commonly used passwords against a user account name, such as 123456, ABCDEF, password, password123 and birthdays, telephone numbers, and other commonly created passwords.
- Keylogging, which records the strokes typed on a keyboard and has been used to tunnel into bank accounts, digital wallets, eCommerce accounts, and more.
- Targeted, manual “brute force,” which is often used to attack individuals were guessing their passwords is made easier based on their social media activity, relationships, and more.
Modern password management will protect organizations and the individuals in those organizations by providing suggested passwords that are held in a vault and changed as necessary, with automation that makes this invisible to the user and less time consuming for IT analysts.
The best way to avoid breaches due to password hacks is to identify and eliminate unsecured passwords, which, according to Verizon’s DBIR 2020 report, are still the main entry point for cybercriminals.
A strong password management tool like Ironsphere’s Dynamic Password Controller can provide granular access control to help prevent password-related data breaches from occurring.
The Dynamic Password Controller is a password vault that stores and rotates SSH keys and passwords of privileged accounts (admin, system, root, etc.) centrally and securely.
Authorized users log in with their personal accounts, check-out the credential of a privileged account, and then use it to connect to target endpoints. The Dynamic Password Controller generates searchable log records and audit trails to meet security and compliance requirements.
Our solution works with Windows, Linux, and Unix, with Oracle, PostgreSQL, MsSQL, and other databases, and interoperates with all devices and applications with a CLI interface and applications with a password change API.
Contact us to learn more about how your organization can eliminate unsecured passwords and protect your data, applications, and infrastructure.
At The Crossroads of Risk Management and Privileged Access Management, Hyper-Automation Matters
There are few things in business that come with no risk. In fact, the future truly belongs to the bold, and those enterprises who push themselves to innovate more and accelerate digital transformation across their offerings are winning. The greatest risk of all today may be doing nothing, hoping that the status quo will be enough to keep existing customers and win new customers.
The Hidden Costs of an IP Breach: How to Analyze, Plan and Protect Priceless Digital Assets & Secrets
Corporate networks are breached for many reasons, but among the most frightening to the C-Suite and Board of Directors are attacks that target the theft of intellectual assets.
As Digital Transformation Accelerates, The Risk of Theft of IP Grows
Over the past two decades, with the rise of the Internet and the growth of cloud services, enterprises, and organizations, including government agencies, have transformed the way they do business and serve their constituents.