What is a Brute Force Attack?

Learn about the dangers of brute force attacks, how they work, real-life examples, and statistics. Discover ways to protect against this cybersecurity threat.


In the world of cybersecurity, one of the most common and potentially dangerous threats is a brute force attack. But what exactly is a brute force attack and why is it so concerning for individuals and organizations alike? In this article, we will delve into the intricacies of brute force attacks, explore how they work, and discuss ways to protect against them.

What is a Brute Force Attack?

A brute force attack is a hacking method that involves attempting every possible combination of passwords or encryption keys until the correct one is found. This method is typically used to gain unauthorized access to a system, network, or account by trying all possible permutations until the right one is discovered.

How Does a Brute Force Attack Work?

Brute force attacks work by systematically checking all possible combinations of passwords or encryption keys until the correct one is found. This process can be time-consuming, depending on the complexity of the password or encryption key being targeted.

Examples of Brute Force Attacks

  • Dictionary Attacks: These attacks involve using a predefined list of commonly used passwords to try to gain access to a system.
  • Hybrid Attacks: These attacks combine elements of dictionary attacks with brute force attacks to increase the chances of success.
  • Credential Stuffing: This involves using stolen credentials from one account to attempt to gain access to other accounts.

Case Studies

One of the most famous brute force attacks in recent history was the iCloud breach in 2014. Hackers were able to access the iCloud accounts of several celebrities by systematically trying out different passwords until they gained access to their accounts.

Statistics on Brute Force Attacks

According to a report by Verizon, 81% of hacking-related breaches leveraged either stolen and/or weak passwords. This highlights the significance of protecting against brute force attacks through strong password policies and multi-factor authentication.

Protecting Against Brute Force Attacks

There are several measures individuals and organizations can take to protect against brute force attacks. These include implementing strong password policies, enabling multi-factor authentication, and using CAPTCHAs to prevent automated login attempts.


Brute force attacks pose a significant threat to cybersecurity, but with proper precautions and awareness, individuals and organizations can mitigate the risk of falling victim to these attacks. By understanding how brute force attacks work and implementing robust security measures, we can help safeguard our digital assets from malicious actors.

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