Adversaries may use brute force techniques to gain access to accounts when passwords are unknown or when password hashes are obtained. Without knowledge of the password for an account or set of accounts, an adversary may systematically guess the password using a repetitive or iterative mechanism. Brute forcing passwords can take place via interaction with a service that will check the validity of those credentials or offline against previously acquired credential data, such as password hashes.
|Account Use Policies||
Set account lockout policies after a certain number of failed login attempts to prevent passwords from being guessed. Too strict a policy may create a denial of service condition and render environments un-usable, with all accounts used in the brute force being locked-out.
Use multi-factor authentication. Where possible, also enable multi-factor authentication on externally facing services.
Refer to NIST guidelines when creating password policies.
|User Account Management||
Proactively reset accounts that are known to be part of breached credentials either immediately, or after detecting bruteforce attempts.
Monitor authentication logs for system and application login failures of Valid Accounts. If authentication failures are high, then there may be a brute force attempt to gain access to a system using legitimate credentials. Also monitor for many failed authentication attempts across various accounts that may result from password spraying attempts. It is difficult to detect when hashes are cracked, since this is generally done outside the scope of the target network.
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