What is credential stuffing?
Credential stuffing is a cyberattack method in which an attacker uses previously stolen usernames and passwords to gain unauthorized access to user accounts on various online platforms or websites. It relies on the fact that many people reuse the same usernames and passwords across multiple online services.
Here’s how credential stuffing works:
- Data Breaches. Cybercriminals obtain lists of username and password pairs from data breaches on various websites and services. These breaches could result from a variety of reasons, such as poor security practices, hacking, or insider threats.
- Automated Login Attempts. Attackers use automated software or scripts to systematically try these stolen credentials on different websites and services, checking if the same username and password combination is valid elsewhere.
- Account Takeover. If the stolen credentials match those of a user on a targeted platform, the attacker gains unauthorized access to the victim’s account. They can potentially use this access to engage in malicious activities, such as data theft, fraud, or further spreading of the attack.
Credential stuffing attacks are successful because many people reuse their usernames and passwords across multiple websites and services. When a breach occurs on one platform, the stolen credentials can be used to compromise accounts on other websites where the user has used the same login information. To defend against credential-stuffing attacks, users should practice good password hygiene, using unique and strong passwords for each online account and enabling multi-factor authentication (MFA) when available. Website and service providers can also implement security measures to detect and prevent credential stuffing attacks, such as rate limiting, CAPTCHA challenges, and monitoring for unusual login patterns.
How do attackers obtain the stolen credentials used in credential stuffing?
Attackers typically obtain stolen credentials from data breaches on various websites and services. These breaches can result from hacking, poor security practices, or insider threats.
Why is credential stuffing a successful attack method?
Credential stuffing is successful because many individuals use the same usernames and passwords across multiple online services. When one service is breached and credentials are stolen, they can be used to access other accounts where the same login information is reused.
How can organizations defend against credential stuffing attacks?
Organizations can implement security measures to detect and prevent credential stuffing attacks, such as rate limiting login attempts, implementing CAPTCHA challenges, monitoring for unusual login patterns, and using tools that can identify known compromised credentials.
What are the potential risks associated with credential stuffing attacks?
The risks of credential stuffing attacks include unauthorized access to user accounts, data theft, fraud, and the potential for attackers to spread their attack further within the compromised platform.
Can using a password manager help prevent credential stuffing attacks?
Yes, password managers can help by generating strong, unique passwords for each online account and storing them securely. This reduces the likelihood of users reusing passwords, making it harder for attackers to succeed in credential stuffing attacks.