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New hacking technique leaves online accounts at risk

09 April 2018 - 09:33 by Mike Price

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The FBI has revealed details of a fresh tactic known as password spraying which hackers are using to break through digital security systems around the world, according to

In the past most brute force hacks have been unsophisticated, allowing sites to stop login attempts after a set number of incorrect password guesses. But password spraying flips the script, instead using one password to try and access multiple accounts at the same time.

If the password does not work on any of the accounts, a new attempt is made with a different phrase.

Experts warn that this makes hackers harder to detect because rather than focusing on one account at a time and getting locked out repeatedly, their efforts are spread more broadly and do not become conspicuous as quickly.

Analysts warned that the practice could leave businesses exposed in a number of ways, while making it harder for consumers to shop online for fear that their account could be compromised.

Of course, even with more advanced techniques at their disposal, hackers that use this brute force approach are still relying on a combination of luck and complacency on the part of web users.

Password strength is routinely criticised in reports which show that millions of people make poor choices in this regard. And cybercriminals rely upon weak passwords to crack into personal accounts and business systems alike.

To ensure that it is possible to shop online safely and avoid falling victim to password spraying, as well as other strategies, it is important to opt for a phrase which is long and difficult to guess. Using personal details is not advised and including random numbers and symbols can help, but length is perhaps the most necessary feature of a secure password.