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What is a Credential-based cyberattack?

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  • 4 min read

Not in its infancy but the internet is still growing and establishing itself as a useful tool to connect the world, but at the same time there is a downside too. Every new technology comes with a set of loopholes, which can be potentially exploited to harm an individual or set of users. New set people are coming online for the first time every day and most of them are prone to a number of cyberattacks. And one such is credential-based attacks, which are carried out by unauthorised use of personal information of the attacked user. Read on to find out how exactly it’s carried out.

Credential theft — stealing the personal information of a user online — is the first stage of a credential-based attack. Credential theft is generally carried out by phishing as it is a cheap and efficient method to get the information from one’s device. The effectiveness of phishing mostly depends on human interaction and how good a deceiver the attacker really is — unlike malware, which relies on weaknesses and loopholes in the security system.

Also read: What is a Whaling Cyberattack? How is it different from Phishing?

How do attackers get the credentials?

Attackers generally target corporates because corporate credential theft is comparatively easy as their information is publicly available on various digital platforms and also have a higher probability of fetching information that might either be relatively more damaging or fetch higher monetary compensation for the attackers.What is phishing? Types of phishing scams and how to protect yourself? Attackers search social media websites like LinkedIn, which are dedicated to corporates and businesses where they search for specific users, whose credentials will grant them access to critical data and information of a company. The emails and websites, used for corporate credential theft are more professional and sophisticated than the ones that are used for consumer credential theft.

The main challenge which the attackers face is to make these emails and websites look very similar to actual corporate websites, but that’s quite elementary when you’re playing at that level. Attackers focus on the information that can be a threat to the security of the company. For example, if they attack the device of a person that holds a lot of information that can be used to gain access to company data including financial login credentials, they would be able to access a lot of confidential information related to the company. The attackers generally seek information related to clients, finance and security.

How to prevent them?

Credential-based attacks are newer when compared to other attacks like DoS and DDoS. These attacks can be prevented by taking care of network security.What is HSTS? Should you enable it on your website?

Security awareness training is very important and acts as the first line of defence. But there might be instances where the employees are unable to identify a phishing attempt and end up providing some confidential information to the attackers.

To minimise this, corporate credentials should be limited to approved applications and usage of unknown or untrusted websites and applications should be blocked. Security products should be deployed to ensure that the network is safe and corporate credentials are blocked from leaving the network and being sent to untrusted websites. Multi-factor authentication, where the identity is verified more than once, is another way to secure the information.

Most importantly, it’s elementary to ensure your employees know about every kind of cyberattack possible. Check out our security articles to learn more.

How do you prevent your device from being attacked? Let us know in the comments section.

Also read: What is a Zero-Day exploit and 8 ways to protect yourself?

Himanshu Nimje

Himanshu Nimje