Credential harvesting: What you need to know

Importance of Credentials to Bot Attacks

Credential harvesting is best defined as the large-scale illegal operation to steal millions of stolen user login credentials, such as password and username, which are sold on the dark web, and often are used to launch more sophisticated credential stuffing and finally full-on Account Take-Over Attacks

Just as wheat is harvested, and then makes its way into the food supply chain as breakfast cereals, pasta and bread, so the credential harvest feeds a multitude of different bot attacks and crimes, that evolve into a fully-blown data breach of customer accounts. 

Obtaining the correct credentials makes it very difficult to detect and respond to. The fraudsters can hide in the traffic stream of millions of legitimate users, and easily co-mingle with the real accounts to avoid detection. Fraudsters use credential harvesting to steal all the rest of the Personal Identifiable Information (PII) such as mobile numbers, home address, and credit card numbers, as well as any other confidential data they can get their hands on. All this data can be used directly in attacks or packaged up and sold as Fullz for use in yet other attacks.

Credential Fraud Harvesting Supply Chain to Enable Account Breaches

Importance of Credentials

Credentials serve as the gatekeepers of our online identities, but they are often the weakest link in our overall security policy. Although most organisations have implemented enforced password rotation, and probably other 2FA systems, the greatest danger is from Phishing and social engineering methods, used to obtain the latest login credentials.

Types of Credential Harvesting

Phishing Attacks

Among the arsenal of cybercriminal tactics, phishing remains a prevalent and insidious method. Hackers deploy deceptive emails and websites to trick individuals into divulging sensitive information unwittingly. Despite all the training, it only takes one user to click on one link.

Keylogging Techniques

Silent and stealthy, keyloggers record every keystroke, enabling cybercriminals to gather login details, passwords, and other critical information.

Credential Stuffing

Capitalizing on reused passwords, attackers utilize automated tools to infiltrate multiple accounts by exploiting the common practice of recycling credentials.

Man-in-the-Middle Attacks

In this sophisticated approach, hackers intercept and alter communication between two parties, gaining unauthorized access to login credentials.

Social Engineering Tactics

Exploiting human psychology, social engineering involves manipulating individuals into divulging confidential information willingly.

Recognizing Credential Harvesting

Unusual Account Activity

Stay vigilant for unexpected changes in account behavior, such as unfamiliar devices or irregular login times.

Suspicious Emails

Phishing attempts often disguise themselves as legitimate emails. Be cautious of unexpected requests for personal information.

Strange Login Locations

Regularly check login histories for unfamiliar locations, as this could indicate unauthorized access.

Frequent Password Resets

If you find yourself frequently resetting passwords, it could be a sign of compromised credentials.

Prevention Techniques

Stopping the bots at the edge of the network before they can cause damage is an essential way to stop the bots from accessing. Register for a free-trial and see how VerifiedVisitors can help protect you online today.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do hackers use social engineering for credential harvesting?

Hackers are using increasingly sophisticated social engineering to try and enforce compliance, even going as far as impersonating IT security,

Are password managers safe to use?

In a word No. LastPass was the latest password manager to be hacked.