Brute Force Attack

Brute Force Attack

At least once in our lives, we’ve all forgotten our locker combination and instead of trying to remember, we decide to try every single possible number until it pops open. That's essentially a brute force attack in the digital world. 

Hackers use this method to crack passwords by systematically trying every combination of letters, numbers, and symbols imaginable, hoping to stumble upon the right one. 

Unlike a forgotten locker combo, though, brute force attacks can target more important things like your email, bank accounts, or even entire computer systems. 

What is a Brute Force Attack?

A brute force attack is a trial-and-error method used by attackers to gain unauthorized access to a system. This type of attack involves systematically checking all possible passwords or passphrases until the correct one is found. 

Essentially, the attacker attempts every combination of letters, numbers, and symbols until they successfully breach the system.

Brute Force Attacks in Cyber Security

In cyber security, brute force password attacks are particularly concerning because they can be automated. Attackers use software tools that rapidly generate a vast number of guesses to crack passwords, PINs, or encryption keys. 

Despite the sophistication of modern security measures, brute force attacks remain effective when systems have weak password policies or lack adequate security protocols. 

These attacks are not subtle; they are akin to using a battering ram to break down a door rather than picking the lock. They rely on the sheer power of repeated attempts rather than finesse or stealth.

Types of Brute Force Attacks

Brute force attacks come in various forms, shapes, and sizes; each with its specific method and target.

Here are some of the most common types of brute force attacks:

Simple Brute Force Attack

This is the most straightforward type of brute force attack, where the attacker tries every possible combination of characters until the correct password or PIN is found. 

This method is very time-consuming and is generally used as a last resort when other, more efficient methods fail.

Dictionary Attack

A dictionary attack is a more refined form of brute force attack. Instead of trying every possible combination of characters, the attacker uses a list of words that could potentially be used as passwords. 

These lists often include common passwords, phrases found in dictionaries, or even passwords leaked from other breaches. This method is faster than simple brute force attacks because it targets more likely possibilities first.

Hybrid Attack

Hybrid attacks combine elements of both simple brute force attacks and dictionary attacks. Attackers use a list of potential passwords and also make modifications by adding numbers, symbols, or changing letter cases. 

For example, if "password" is on the list, the software might also try "Password," "password123," or "p@ssw0rd."

Reverse Brute Force Attack

In a reverse brute force attack, the attacker starts with a known password and tries to find usernames or accounts that have that password. 

This type of attack is effective when the attacker has obtained a common password used across different platforms and is looking to maximize access across multiple accounts.

Credential Stuffing

While technically not a pure brute force attack, credential stuffing involves using known username and password combinations on different websites. 

This attack exploits the common habit of using the same password across multiple services, increasing the chances of gaining unauthorized access.


Like trying combos on a forgotten lock, hackers use brute force attacks to crack digital codes. Targeting emails, finances, and secure data, these relentless assaults attempt to guess passwords through various methods.

This highlights the need for strong cybersecurity. Without robust measures, systems are vulnerable to these simple yet effective attacks. A brute force attack in cyber security doesn't require complex skills, just persistence. 

Published on:
April 25, 2024
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