What is credential stuffing?
Credential stuffing is a brute force attack used by hackers to gain access to people’s online accounts. Unlike traditional brute force attacks — where hackers guess people’s credentials — credential stuffing attacks are more dangerous because they use stolen information.
Hackers break into a website’s database and steal their users’ usernames and passwords. The hackers then take these stolen credentials and “stuff” them into the login page of other websites until they find an account they can log in to. Credential stuffing creates a scenario where people who use the same username/password combination across multiple websites (which is a majority of users), putting them at high risk of hackers accessing their accounts.
Credential stuffing is fairly easy and low risk for hackers, so it’s become very common. The hacker can steal the credentials from any website that requires login information, then use automated systems to systematically stuff them into numerous other websites.
With so many websites asking for usernames and passwords, people tend to re-use them for multiple sites. Credential stuffers take advantage of this by using the stolen usernames and passwords and plugging them into websites or enterprise systems containing much more sensitive information.
These credentials are usually obtained from a fairly innocuous site, such as a food chain or department store. If you used the same username and password for a sensitive site like your bank account, credential stuffers will now have access to all of your financial information.
On top of that, once stolen, the information doesn’t always stay with that specific hacker. Instead, the usernames and passwords are distributed on the dark web, going up for bid to anyone who has a use for them. This means that even information from older data breaches could still be in use by credential stuffers — and your sensitive data continues to be at risk.
Since people don’t often create new passwords unless a website or app requires it, this older information can be used over and over by hackers to gain access to important accounts.
How to prevent credential stuffing attacks
Employees can prevent personal attacks on their sensitive accounts by using different usernames and passwords for each service. While this can seem overwhelming, using a password manager makes it easy and keeps you somewhat safe although protecting a password with a password leaves them open to attacks.
Preventing credential stuffing attacks is harder for companies, but there are tools and methods to make it easier.
If your company has a system where users create username and password combinations, there are a few different options. First, you can require your employees to use password managers. While this won’t help protect outside users, it’s a common first step.
On top of that, you can employ brute force protection or a bot management system. These methods help prevent malicious bots from compromising your passwords or using stolen passwords to gain access to the accounts on your site.
However, they aren’t perfect. As long as your users have usernames and passwords, they’re at risk.
The simplest and most effective way to prevent credential stuffing attacks is to use passwordless login methods, or methods that remove static credentials from the equation. Without relying on usernames and passwords, your company isn’t at risk of a data breach revealing user credentials, or bots using credential stuffing to access user accounts.
Studies have shown that passwordless authentication is much more secure and cost-effective for businesses and their users.
Using passwordless multi-factor authentication (MFA) is a great way to go beyond outdated password use and prevent credential stuffing when authenticating users. However, not all MFA solutions are created equal.
What to look for in multi-factor authentication solutions
When looking for passwordless multi-factor authentication solutions, it’s important to look at key features in order to make an informed and smart decision for your business.
Look for a cloud-based solution that doesn’t require the installation of hardware or software or require a server. This means less money and time wasted on setup and more resources to use elsewhere. Make sure the solution is able to integrate into your organization’s systems and easy for all employees to utilize. Time is a valuable asset to any organization, so make sure the system is fast and always has a backup if anything goes wrong.
A reliable security system should offer an interface for your organization to maintain a visual of all security solutions, issues, or other important information to your organization.
Top 10 Reasons To Go Passwordless
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Trusona is a secure, easy to use passwordless multi-factor authentication solution to help any organization strengthen its cybersecurity. Many MFA systems use a password along with other authentication methods, such as PINS or SMS-based OTPs.
Trusona takes safe logins one step further by removing passwords altogether. Our system allows companies to provide customers, employees, and partners with a user-friendly, passwordless login service. Not only does Trusona not use passwords, but we don’t require any typing at all when logging in, making it impossible for credential stuffers to steal credentials or use stolen credentials to access information.
See how Trusona MFA strengthens an organization’s security and can prevent credential stuffing and other cyber attacks.