Credential Stuffing

5 Ways to Prevent Credential Stuffing

April 17, 20235 min Read

Credential stuffing is a type of cyberattack in which cybercriminals deploy bots with stolen login credentials to gain access to users' accounts. Credit card transactions, bank account login details, and even social media sites are potential targets. Failure to prevent credential stuffing attacks can result in identity theft, data exfiltration, or an account takeover, where attackers change security settings to block the legitimate user from accessing their own accounts. Preventing credential stuffing helps individuals and organizations to protect themselves from online attacks and data breaches.

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Guaranteed Peace of Mind from Credential Stuffing Attacks
Guaranteed Peace of Mind from Credential Stuffing Attacks

How common is credential stuffing?

Credential theft is so prevalent because it has a comparatively high success rate. Many people reuse the same set of credentials across multiple accounts, making it easier for hackers to compromise accounts on multiple platforms. In fact, it is estimated that 65% of all people reuse the same password on multiple accounts. Attackers obtain billions of login credentials through data breaches, which they then use in credential stuffing attacks for everything from spam to phishing and account takeovers.

The increase in data breaches and the sale of compromised credentials on the dark web have contributed to a surge in credential stuffing attacks in recent years, and attackers use automated systems to target login fields on websites using stolen username and password pairs. Preventing credential stuffing is better than dealing with the consequences of it. So, without further ado, here are five ways to prevent credential stuffing attacks.

How to Prevent Credential Stuffing

As credential stuffing attacks grow in frequency and complexity, organizations must take steps to protect themselves from these attacks. Here are the top 5 ways to prevent credential stuffing attacks:

1. Don't Reuse Passwords

Credential stuffing attacks can't be stopped by just requiring stronger passwords, because the attacker already has access to breached passwords. So it is important to never reuse a password on multiple sites. Use a password manager to generate a unique username and password combination for each and every website or app. To further protect against brute force attacks, additional security measures such as limiting login requests can be implemented. By taking these preventative measures, you can better secure user accounts and protect against credential stuffing attacks.

2. Use Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA)

MFA adds an extra layer of security to your login process, requiring users to provide two or more forms of identification before granting access to their account. This can include something the user knows, such as a password, and something they have, such as a security token or fingerprint.

While MFA is an effective tool for preventing credential stuffing attacks, it is not the final answer. Man-in-the-Middle (MITM) phishing attacks can compromise or bypass MFA and gain access to users’ accounts. So, it's important for users to only enter their credentials on websites they trust and for companies to use a strong bot management solution that protects against MITM attacks.

3. Use a Web Application Firewall (WAF)

A WAF can detect abnormal traffic, and advanced WAFs can even detect suspicious login attempts and block them. Website hosts can use WAFs to prevent not only credential stuffing attacks, but also other web attacks such as cross-site scripting (XSS) and SQL injection. That said, a WAF is not a complete solution because many intelligent bots can now circumvent traditional WAFs by impersonating legitimate customers.

4. Use a Modern CAPTCHA

A CAPTCHA is a security test designed to distinguish humans from automated bots. Traditional CAPTCHAs may involve selecting images or entering text to prove the user's identity. The problem is, traditional CAPTCHAs are not effective because bots can get around them. MatchKey, from Arkose Labs, is the ideal CAPTCHA. It uses dynamic challenges that are tailored to a specific attack, and it is the most accurate way to stop credential stuffing. By requiring users to solve a MatchKey challenge, websites can prevent credential stuffing attacks, which can occur even with strong passwords if they are reused on multiple accounts.

5. Use a Bot Management Solution

The best way to prevent credential stuffing attacks is to use a robust bot management platform. Arkose Bot Manager is a critical part of an overall cybersecurity strategy that blocks bots and provides an improved experience for legitimate users. The platform offers a unique combination of real-time risk assessments, machine learning analytics, transparent risk insights, and powerful attack response.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Credential stuffing vs password spraying: What is the difference?

Credential stuffing involves using stolen login information to gain access to other applications and websites. It exploits the risks of password reuse, as attackers can use stolen credentials to access other online accounts.

On the other hand, password spraying involves using common passwords to gain access to accounts. Attackers may use automated tools to try a few commonly used passwords across a large number of accounts to gain unauthorized access. It's important to use strong and unique passwords to protect your online accounts from both of these types of attacks.