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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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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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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 Classic Monsters Were Computer Viruses

b2ap3_thumbnail_halloween_it_400.jpgWhat’s scarier, monsters or computer viruses? While it would be horrifying to be caught in a dark alley with a vampire, it would also be terrifying to lose your data to a hacker. Each entity is scary in its own right, but how frightening would it be if the two were combined?

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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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Advanced Malware is Targeted, Stealthy, Evasive, and Adaptive

b2ap3_thumbnail_advanced_malware_presents_threats_400.jpgThe online world is a scary place. Viruses, malware, spyware, adware, and more are all out there trying to get at your network. These threats are almost always prevalent, but compared to each other, some are vastly superior and far more dangerous and advanced than the others. Advanced malware has the potential to disrupt your business’s operations, cause extensive data loss, and more.

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DecryptCryptoLocker Provides Fix for Nasty Ransomware

b2ap3_thumbnail_decryptolocker_400.jpgA few months ago, we mentioned that a ransomware called CryptoLocker was spreading at a dangerous rate due to the GameOver Zeus malware. The ransomware would lock down files on victims' computers until a fee was paid, but not anymore. Now, with the help of FireEye and Fox-IT, a solution has been created called DecryptCryptoLocker.

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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: New Botnet Thunders Into View For Windows Users

b2ap3_thumbnail_go_zeus_400.jpgGameOver Zeus, a member of the Zeus family of malware, has been discovered and disrupted by the Department of Homeland Security, Federal Bureau of Investigation, and Department of Justice. But, this is only a temporary respite from the danger the malware poses - in two weeks, the threat will be back, and very much alive.

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Be Wary of Hackers’ Psychological Attacks!

b2ap3_thumbnail_avoif_phishing_attacks_400.jpgThere's a computer security threat so menacing that not even the best security technology can stop it. It's called psychology, and it's used with email phishing scams to trick users into overriding their security solution. The only way to stop this threat is with common sense, and unfortunately, there's no app for that.

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