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MG|Computer has been serving the Downers Grove area since 2000, providing IT Support such as technical helpdesk support, computer support, and consulting to small and medium-sized businesses.

Threat Spotlight: Brute-Force Attacks and How to Defend Against Them

Threat Spotlight: Brute-Force Attacks and How to Defend Against Them

One of the most popular methods of online hacking attacks involves what’s called a brute force attack. This is when a hacker overwhelms a login system with multiple attempts until the hacker is able to log in and access the system. They are dangerous attacks that could expose not just sensitive information, but also leave you vulnerable to ongoing hacks.


What Brute Force Attacks Are
Basically, you can imagine a brute force attack as a method which involves the rapid input of passwords and usernames in succession. They’re designed to crack encrypted data by finding a usable password. Most brute force hacking attacks are performed by an algorithm and can input a ridiculous amount of credentials every second. The reasoning behind the name, “brute force,” is due to the brutal assault on the system, rather than taking a more discreet or intellectual path to hack the system. There are many different types of brute force attacks, but one of the most popular ones is the dictionary attack, in which passwords are generated with a dictionary, using popular words, in order to access the system.

Why They’re Dangerous
According to a McAfee Security Report from 2015, brute force attacks account for about 25 percent of all online hacks, second only to Denial of Service attacks. One of the reasons why they’re so popular is that they can be used as a straightforward way to infiltrate privileged accounts and steal sensitive information. These attacks are typically used to access accounts and steal credentials like credit card numbers, Social Security numbers, and other data that could be used for financial gain.

Furthermore, brute force attacks can be used to install what’s called a rootkit on a device, or turn a PC into a bot. Most often, brute force attacks will be seen as a jumping-off point for other types of threats to terrorize the targeted machine.

What You Can Do
Having a security solution put into place that can lock users out based on IP location or failed login attempts can be a great way to protect against brute force attacks. However, both of these methods can be bypassed if the hacker is using a botnet. Since the botnet consists of several infected computers from all over the world, they will have different IP addresses and be identified as individual users, rendering the aforementioned security practices moot.

Another useful technology to have to protect against brute force attacks is two-factor authentication. By providing another layer of security, in addition to the required password, brute force attacks will be rendered useless. Without the secondary credential that gets sent to a smartphone or email address, any attempts to brute force an account with a password will be pointless. This is why it’s always recommended that you use two-factor authentication.

Your business should be prepared to handle all types of online threats, especially those that can lead to more dangerous or destructive results. MG|Computer can provide your organization with security solutions that are designed to maximize your network’s protection against brute force attacks, and other online threats that could have an impact on your business’s operations.

To learn more about what we can do for your company, give us a call at (630) 605-5395.

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Forget Backdoors, Hackers Can Now Infiltrate Garage Doors

b2ap3_thumbnail_openseasame_hacks_garages_400.jpgHackers have proven that they will do whatever it takes to get to your valuable assets, even if it means taking advantage of physical objects that work alongside a specific frequency. As it turns out, this is exactly how hacking a garage door works, and all it takes is a decade-old communications device to capture the frequency and unlock any garage door that utilizes it.

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How to Avoid These 4 Common Social Engineering Scams

b2ap3_thumbnail_do_not_fall_victim_to_these_tricks_400.jpgHackers are always trying to find the latest exploits to infiltrate unsuspecting businesses. One of the most dangerous and arguably the most difficult to identify is called a social engineering attack, which is where the hacker exploits the end user, rather than cracking the security of technology systems.

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How and Why Cyber Crime is so Effective

b2ap3_thumbnail_cyber_crime_is_the_new_norm_400.jpgThe Internet is a fantastic tool that has ushered in an era of productivity and connectivity that we could only previously have dreamed of. Unfortunately, like every great tool, it can be used for darker, malicious purposes. In the Internet’s case, it’s used for anonymous illegal activity, like drug trafficking or selling data on the black market.

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How a Hacker Could Potentially Assassinate a Hospital Patient

b2ap3_thumbnail_hack_threats_400.jpgWhenever hackers show themselves, they always spell trouble. Whether it’s stealing credentials or completely taking over someone’s computer, a hacker has a plethora of targets and methods that can be irritating for the average PC user, or business executive. In fact, hackers are so crafty that they can even hack into hospital equipment.

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Mobile Botnets Make the Internet Even Less Secure

b2ap3_thumbnail_hackers_are_using_botnets_400.jpgTechnology is often exploited by hackers for their benefit, but one avenue of attack that’s consistently neglected is the mobile device. Smartphones and tablets are arguably at greater risk than desktops and workstations due to them being exposed to more wireless networks. One of the greatest threats to these devices is the botnet, a threat that usually targets desktop computers, enslaving them and turning the machine against its owner (and the rest of the Internet).

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Alert: Hackers Posing as IT Support and Hijacking Computers

b2ap3_thumbnail_technology_take_400.jpgOne minute you’re browsing trusted sites on the Internet, the next, your PC freezes up and displays the dreaded blue screen of death, along with a fake tech support message. This strain of malware is duping plenty of computer users into calling the provided phone number, which only makes the situation worse.

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If a Teen Can Hack the CIA, Your Business Needs to Prioritize In Security

b2ap3_thumbnail_cia_hacked_400.jpgWe write about cyber security all of the time, and for good reason. You need to be sure that your organization’s defenses are bulletproof, or at least optimized for maximum security. A recent debacle in the United States serves as a reminder that even high-level, super-secret government accounts can be hacked, like this story from the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).

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You Won’t Believe the Most Evil Domains on the Internet

b2ap3_thumbnail_some_domains_are_associated_with_malware_400.jpgHave you ever wondered which websites on the Internet are the most dangerous? Recently it’s been discovered that the majority of threatening websites on the Internet fall into some very easy-to-identify categories; or, more specifically, about 95 percent of all dangerous websites are found on ten top-level domains.

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CryptoLocker is the Worst Video Game Ever

b2ap3_thumbnail_gamers_pwned_400.jpgIt’s been two years since the world was introduced to CryptoLocker, a particularly-nasty ransomware that encrypts a computer’s data while giving the user a deadline to pay a ransom for the encryption key, or else have their data destroyed. What we’re seeing now is that the reach of CryptoLocker is extending beyond the average PC user; even gamers are getting owned by Cryptolocker.

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The Best Way to Prevent Hackers from Finding Holes in Your Security

b2ap3_thumbnail_security_assessment_400.jpgYour organization is constantly at risk of being attacked by malicious entities. This is a fact that modern businesses have to live with. If this is the first time you’re seriously contemplating cyber security, you need to take all potential options into account; including the worst-case scenario, and how you would combat it.

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Alert: Email Appearing to Be From Microsoft about Windows 10 Upgrade is Really Ransomware

b2ap3_thumbnail_windows_10_email_scam_400.jpgFor many Windows users, the fact that Microsoft is issuing Windows 10 incrementally came as a shock for those who patiently waited for its release date. While users wait, however, hackers are taking advantage of those who are less patient by creating a ransomware that disguises itself as a launcher for a Windows 10 download. So, while you sit and wait for your version of the latest OS, don’t fall prey to deals that seem too good to be true.

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Stop Blaming Technology for the Attacks Caused By People

b2ap3_thumbnail_protect_your_business_400.jpgIt might seem like the obvious reason for hacks and data loss is due to technology being unpredictable, but in all reality, it’s important to remember that some of the problems we experience with technology come from the people operating it. To this end, it’s important to realize that the people operating technology can also protect themselves from hackers.

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Hackers Shop for Vulnerabilities at Online Black Markets

b2ap3_thumbnail_black_market_peddler_400.jpgJust like Silk Road (the illegal online black market designed to smuggle drugs around the world), there exists an online trade for zero-day exploits. Unsurprisingly, hackers find it exceptionally lucrative to sell these exploits for profit. Now, there’s a new marketplace where hackers can get their hands on these vulnerabilities, and it’s all thanks to the anonymity of the Darknet.

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Beware of Government-Grade Malware - Especially from Hackers

b2ap3_thumbnail_government_grade_malware_400.jpgThanks to Edward Snowden's revelations concerning the National Security Agency's (NSA) questionable online practices, we now know that there are ways that we can be watched by others and not even know about it. But what's really scary is that malware exists that can accomplish this same goal.

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Alert: Google and Yahoo Doppelgangers Threaten the Internet

b2ap3_thumbnail_doppleganger_scam_400.jpgDon't trust Google and Yahoo just yet - they might be fake! On July 10th, 2014, Microsoft issued a warning concerning the nature of identical SSL certificates and domains of some popular sites that might allow malicious copycat sites to emerge. As of now, the cause is unknown, but we know that this could be dangerous if you're not prepared to deal with it.

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