11 Password Hacking Techniques & Attack Methods In 2020 [Updated]

Password hacking is the process of trying to get unauthorized access to restricted systems or content by guessing the passwords.

Hackers use different tools that employ different password hacking techniques to achieve this.

The use of passwords by businesses to give and deny unauthorized access is on the rise and it’s estimated that there will be 300 billion passwords by 2020.

This means that password management practices have never been more important.

If you implement a robust password management strategy, you’ll be able to protect yourself from credential theft using these password hacking techniques.

In this article we are going to look at the most common password hacking techniques used by hackers in 2019.

An attacker using these password hacking techniques could be a disgruntled employee looking to take revenge on the company or someone just motivated by the sheer challenge of being able to penetrate a well secured system.

I’ll also finish this article by give you 3 tips for securing your passwords from being stolen by any of these password hacking methods.

However, if you are particularly interested in cracking wifi passwords and accessing free internet, here are the best wifi hacking tools to get you started.

Let’s get into the list of the top password hacking methods.

1. Brute Force

Brute force attack is where an attacker uses a computer program to run through as many letter, number and alphanumeric character combinations as possible to guess the password.

It would begin by trying the most common password combinations as it moves to the more complex ones.

This method can take a long time if the user implements a long and complex password.

2. Dictionary Attack

Dictionary password hacking technique is where an attacker uses a base wordlist of likely passwords to try and log into a user account.

It only tries passphrases that are most likely to succeed based on a “dictionary” –  a small file containing a list of the most commonly used password combinations.

This method works because most users still prefer to use short and easy to predict words as their passwords.

3. Credential Stuffing

Credential stuffing password hacking method relies on the fact that often times people use the same password across multiple platforms.

So after an organization wide password reset is done based on a breach, a hacker might still use the previously stolen passwords to try and gain access to the user’s accounts on other platforms.

Related:
7 Common Network Security Threats And How To Fix Them
10 Best Ethical Hacking Courses on Udemy in 2020

This cross network breach risk is especially high because hackers sell or share stolen passwords among themselves on the dark web.

4. Social Engineering

Social engineering is where you use psychological tricks to try and get login credentials from a company staff.

An attacker phones the company and tells the person on the phone that they are the new tech support team and needs their latest password for something specific and the unsuspecting employee happily hands over the credentials.

It often works because most employees lack proper social engineering prevention training.

5. Traffic Interception

This password hacking technique involves using packet sniffing tools to capture and analyze any communication going on through the network.

Traffic interception enables the attacker to obtain password data through these sniffers which are then used for unauthorized network access.

In fact, using these wifi hacking tools you’ll be able to decipher even encrypted passwords and render the encryption useless.

6. Password Spraying

Password spraying is a password hacking method where you use a common password to try and gain unauthorized access on multiple accounts.

Because recent password security measures involve locking down an account after a few multiple failed login attempts, this methods circumvents this measure by spreading the attack across multiple accounts hence avoiding a lockdown trigger.

It is a slow but steady password attack technique that targets single sign-on accounts.

7. Rainbow Tables

Rainbow tables is a type of offline password hacking technique that uses a huge set of precompiled algorithm specific hash values.

The attacker then runs a list of plaintext passwords against an encryption algorithm and comparing the final hash to that contained in the rainbow file until a match is found.

Even though rainbow tables can enable you to crack a huge amount of passwords in short period of time, you’ll need large computer memory to store the terabytes of rainbow files as well as a significant amount of processing power to run them.

8. Keylogging

Keylogging is a password cracking technique where an attacker users a program to track all of a user’s keystrokes on a computer.

This way everything the user types including their usernames and passwords is logged.

It a very superior password cracking method because it doesn’t matter how long or complex your password is… it’ll record the plaintext and avail it to the hacker regardless.

9. Phishing

Phishing is where you acquire sensitive account credentials by tricking a user, most oftenly through a phishing email.

Even though phishing emails are sent out in the billions, recent email spam filters are smart enough to detect and blacklist them or send them to the spam folder.

Related:
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10 Best Cyber Security Courses to Take on Udemy [2020]

When successful though, they have a high hit rate as the user voluntarily hands over their login information by, say clicking a link and logging into a counterfeit site that’s made to look exactly like a legit one they already know.

10. Spidering

Spidering is a password hacking method where you leverage the fact that most organizations use passwords containing some company information.

All an attacker needs to do is gather this information from company websites, social media accounts etc and use it to come up with word lists.

With this word list you can then perform either a dictionary or brute force attack to try and gain unauthorized access.

11. Shoulder Surfing

This password cracking technique is where you simply watch someone while they type their password on a cash-dispensing machine or any other electronic device.

Shoulder surfing is most commonly used because it requires no technical skills… all you need is a great eyesight. Really!

The attacker could be a service man or a delivery guy entering the office building, wandering around while snooping over the shoulders of staff members while they enter their passwords.

Right.

Now that we’ve looked at the various ways a hacker could crack your password…

And you realize there are various password hacking methods…

Does this mean you are helpless?

Well, there are various practices or ways you could ensure that your password is tamper proof even with the most sophisticated password cracking techniques.

Here are 3 tips for protecting your password from being cracked.

  • Avoid short and easily predictable passwords by ensuring that your passwords are always between 8 to 12 characters long.
  • Implement the use of password strength indicators in your organization so that users are forced to choose strong passwords during registration.
  • Avoid clicking random links in email or downloading software from untrusted sources as this could be the first step for an attacker to steal your data.

Conclusion

Password hacking and unauthorized user account access is one of the most prevalent threats in cyber security today.

A single password hack on a business or organization’s computer system can take various forms and can harm or interrupt the normal operation of the system.

Even though attackers’ motivations vary greatly, the simple fact is if they can break your password using any of the password hacking techniques…

Then your company’s business reputation is on the line.

Your users and clients will lose faith once they perceive that their sensitive user data is not properly secured.

Being able to properly combat these kinds of attacks require that you not only have the right kind of skills, but also the right tools and policies in place.

That’s why I put together this article of the best ethical hacking courses online to provide you with the resources you need to get started.

By taking these courses, you’ll not only learn how to secure your systems from malicious hackers…

… but you’ll also learn the best tools and policies to put in place.

I hope this article has helped you learn the various password hacking techniques and methods attackers could use to gain unauthorized access to your system.

How do you know if they’ve already even done it?

Check here to see if you’ve been hacked.

What has been your experience with these password hacking techniques and methods?

Please share your experience in the comments below.

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Author: Lerma Gray

Having grown up with an old desktop in his room his entire life, Lerma was always curious about what was inside that box. Because of this curiosity, he often got into trouble getting his hands on things he shouldn't. He's now glad to be putting his skills to good use helping business secure their data and operations.

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