What is Credential Stuffing?

What is Credential Stuffing?

Sep 04, 2022 / Kron

With the development of digital transformation, cyber security became a part of the daily work life for many organizations operating in different sectors. It is possible to specify numerous factors that direct organizations to develop their cyber security policies and strengthen their IT networks against different types of cyber attacks.

The increase in the use of mobile data, the spread of Internet of Things (IoT) services and the remote working practices that occupy the agenda of many organizations due to COVID-19 pandemic require the implementation of more advanced data security protocols in IT networks. However it is worth noting that the increase in factors that may initiate an attack can also lead an increase in the number of attack types.

For instance as much as ransomware and phishing cyber attacks, credential stuffing attacks are among the vectors that harm organizations. Let's take a look at about the credential stuffing, which is more likely to be preferred by any cyber attacker due to the increase in attack attempts that cause data breaches on our article.

What is Credential Stuffing?

Highlighted as an important access security breach, the credential stuffing can be simply explained as automatically adding the usernames and passwords (credentials) to login forms of web sites in order to gain access user accounts in the IT network.

The fundamental logic of credential stuffing and making it easy for the hackers to utilize this kind of attack is the fact that many users use the same credentials in different web sites. If the mentioned credentials are exposed due to a database breach, ransomware attack or phishing attack, a hacker may use these credentials in other websites and may threaten user accounts.

Credential stuffing is a branch of brute force attack however they work differently. Before we make comparisons, it may be beneficial to explain the phases of this attack.

  • The hacker first gets hold of credentials of a web site that was exposed due being a victim of a type of cyber attack.
  • Then the hacker tests these credentials on social media websites, online marketplaces and their web applications via automatic software.
  • If a login is successful during these tests, the hacker now owns a number of valid credentials.
  • Now the access security is seriously under threat. The cyber attacker may funnel the items with monetary value that are stored in the hacked accounts or makes purchases via credit card information.
  • Since sensitive documents and images will be accessed, a second data breach may occur. Additionally the hacked accounts may be used to initiate phishing attacks and sending spam e-mails.
  • Lastly, the compromised credentials may be sold to other hackers in different web sites.

Differences Between Credential Stuffing and Brute Force Attacks

Brute force attacks, which consists utilizing random strings and widely used passwords and patterns without a context to guess the credentials of users, would be successful in an event where the users opt to use simple and predictable passwords. The differences between Brute force attack and credential stuffing are:

  • Brute force attacks lack context and do not utilize the communication between the network services.
  • Brute force attacks have a very low chance to be successful in IT networks where standard cyber security measures are taken.
  • Brute force attacks do not have the information flow obtained from prior data breaches. Therefore, a pattern cannot be established between password trials.
  • On the other hand, credential stuffing attacks cause a common ground between services since the compromised username and passwords are made possible to be shared within the network. Which may mean targeting different units in the IT network.

How to Prevent Credential Stuffing?

We have told before that since many users in the IT networks of various organizations tend to use the same passwords in different web sites and refrains from using password managers for managing these passwords, it is made easier to be a victim of a cyber attack with the related attack vector. So, what are these methods to prevent credential stuffing attacks? Let's try to answer this question under different topics.

Passwordless Authentication

Passwordless authentication may prevent credential stuffing since it will allow user authentication through a device or biometric data instead of a password.

Continuous Authentication

Since real-time authentication is utilized instead of a password for this method, biometric data or behavioral patterns may be used. Continuous or real-time authentication takes the real user data as basis, therefore it offers full security in terms of authorized access to your organization. 

Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA)

MFA is a method that utilizes fingerprints, one time code and an e-mail sent to a secure account, in addition to username and password combination. It can be interpreted as a type of biometric data authentication, and includes two-factor authentication as part of its operation. Two-Factor authentication is also used to authenticate time and location.

Compromised Password Protection

This method that utilizes comparing the compromised databases with passwords in order to prevent credential stuffing may also prevent login attempts.

Credential Hashing

This method hashes the user's password before you store it in the database; it may not make it unusable in the event of compromise however it may limit its use.

Dynamic Password Controller

This method allows managing all passwords in the IT system through a single center, also it includes a password vault. This vault allows the passwords to be stored isolated from the network.

The Key Point of Access Security: PAM Solutions

Privileged Access Management (PAM) solutions are one of the key points in preventing credential stuffing attacks. As Kron, our Privileged Access Management solution Single Connect offers full support to your organization regarding privileged account information and access security. Offering Dynamic Password Controller and Two-Factor Authentication, Single Connect may prevent hacking of usernames and passwords due to credential stuffing attacks.

Dynamic Password Controller module has a password vault and allows you to control all passwords in the entire IT network. Thanks to a password vault, you may store the passwords of privileged accounts isolated from the network. Two-Factor Authentication (2FA) requires simultaneous time and location from the users that want to login to your IT network. If authentication fails, the access is denied. One of the best methods to provide end to end access security, Single Connect helps you to keep your organization safe against the cyber threats with its advanced modules.

You can contact us for more information regarding Dynamic Password Controller and Two-Factor Authentication modules. Furthermore, you can contact our team to learn about the entirety of features offered by Single Connect and ask your questions.

Other Blogs