What is a Brute Force Attack?

Filed under General | Posted by Gary

This is a term that you will often see if you are browsing around internet security related sites. A brute force attack is usually carried out with some sort of automated script. The attacker will often use a list of common usernames and passwords, but could also have the script written in such a way that it simply goes through all the letters of the alphabet, numbers and other characters in order to get the correct password which will allow them into the site they are attacking.

A good analogy would be if you had a combination lock that had three numbers. If you tried all of the numbers from 000 to 999 you would undoubtedly ‘crack’ the combination. That’s a fairly slow way of doing it of course – scripts can generate  numbers and letters much faster than you could turn the tumblers on a combination lock!

Knowing how a brute force attack works should make it very easy to understand that the longer your password is, and the more punctuation and other non alpha-numeric characters you have … the harder it is to ‘crack’.

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