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Preventing a Brute Force Attack

This is part three of a Crypto Safety Series detailing common and preventable hacks that you need to know!
#cobo vault #hackseries • October 31, 2018


What is the easiest, most foolproof way of hacking? In this article, we will be exploring what a brute force attack is and some of the main methods to prevent one.

What is a Brute Force Attack?

Imagine you found a long-lost box in your wardrobe, locked with a 3-digit padlock. You have no recollection of the passcode. So what do you do? Instead of pulling your hair out in an attempt to recall your password, the next easiest way is to simply try all combinations from 000 to 999. That is also known as the brute force method. Thus, a brute force attack is when hackers manage to retrieve users’ credentials through the attempt of all possible combinations (usually with the help of a script or machine). For example, if a user’s password is all lower letters with no digits or special characters, it will only take about 2–10 minutes for a brute force attack to crack the password.

One recent case of a brute force cyberattack occurred in the UK Parliament, where hackers attempted to brute force “weak” passwords, forcing parliamentary officials to lock MPs out of their own email accounts in an attempt to minimize the damage caused. In the end, however, over 90 email accounts were still compromised, opening account holders up to all sorts of blackmail with their own email content. It is still a mystery whether there was such blackmail as there was no disclosure of any email content.

How does Cobo prevent Brute Force Attacks?

Brute Force Attacks can be foiled with a simple solution. In fact, most websites and software login platforms simply use CAPTCHA and disallow users from attempting any login attempts beyond a certain number of incorrect attempts. Usually, the more incorrect attempts, the longer it takes for the login portal to reset.

Cobo Vault is no exception. After 10 consecutive incorrect attempts, Cobo Vault will lock for 15 minutes. After the 17th incorrect attempt, the lockout period increases to 24 hours for each additional attempt.

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