Credential theft is a cyber-crime by which a threat actor steals a victim’s passwords and gets access to critical information and data. From there, they can continue with their malicious activities. These include data exfiltration, change of passwords or operating throughout a network undetected.
Using this type of attack, a hacker can repeat various other attacks again and again until someone detects them and locks them out of the system. For this reason, cyber-criminals have come to be more sophisticated regarding their techniques about credential theft. In this article we will list some of the tactics that are used for this purpose and finally we will present some solutions to this problem.
Credential Theft Tactics
- Phishing: As happens with many other attacks, Phishing is commonly used as a way of stealing credential information. Since some companies don’t adopt multi-factor authentication and don’t have adequate password practices, they make it easy for threat actors to access a system using a stolen password. Using Phishing, a hacker could impersonate an individual or an entity that seems legitimate and persuade them to insert their personal information in a website from where they can use it for their purposes. There are different types of Phishing, such as Spear Phishing, Whaling and Clone Phishing. You can also read our previous post regarding Phishing more analytically.
- Malware: This type of attack is very common and can include several programs (spyware, trojans, viruses etc.) and can be used for various malicious intents, including credential theft. One of the techniques that hackers frequently use is keystroke monitoring, namely tracking and recording every keystroke on a keyboard.
- Brute Force Attacks: Using automated software, hackers use a trial-and-error method to try to guess a password and since this software can try thousands of guesses each second (if the servers don’t use failed attempt monitoring), protection against this type of attack can be difficult.
- Default Credentials: This is the reason why we should change the default passwords of servers, applications and devices we use. Default credentials are easier to steal, because there are a lot of tools that can detect these passwords.
- Application Vulnerabilities: A threat actor can explore and use a system’s vulnerabilities to compromise its security and steal credentials. Something that could help with detecting a system’s vulnerabilities would be Penetration Testing.
A very simple but effective way to mitigate credential theft is utilizing strong and unique passwords. There are some characteristics that are usual among strong passwords. These include a minimum of 8 characters, a combination of uppercase and lowercase letters, symbols and numbers and being unique, which means that they should not be used for multiple websites or applications.
A very useful tool for detecting credential theft is Monitoring. This tool searches for patterns in information sources and also monitors and reviews log data. Monitoring can show you if an activity is suspicious. For example, it can show you that there were more attempts than usual for an employee to enter a system using their password. It can also show that someone accessed an application at an unusual hour.
Credential theft is a cyber-attack that has been around for many years and remains equally dangerous even now. Although using a stronger password can be very important, it is not enough. The best way to mitigate this attack, would be a monitoring tool and Logstail.com has this covered.
Logstail.com with the advanced systems and technologies helps you to have full control regarding the security of your systems to prevent a threat or improve a weak point. Now, it is not necessary to have engineering knowledge to build and use a log management and security analysis tool. Instead, you can turn your data into useful information easily and without many processes. Also, you can increase the performance of your infrastructure or be alerted to potential problems and take appropriate action. Sign up for a free demo to realize Logstail’s capabilities.
Logstail also offers the services needed to effectively mitigate cyber-attacks. Our rapid incident response and advisory, penetration testing and red team operations are specifically designed to help our customers reduce cyber-attack incidents. Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org to receive a custom quote for your business or get free advice from our team of experienced security experts.