Confident Technologies introduced an image-based add-on to its authentication technology to foil attackers relying on brute-force methods to crack passwords and break into accounts.
claimed its latest authentication technology can prevent hacking attempts while
they are happening.
The new product, Confident
KillSwitch, identifies and protects against "brute force" attacks on
account log-ins, password-reset processes, transaction verifications and other
authentication requests, Confident Technologies said Aug. 24. The technology
relies on encrypted images and works with the company's other authentication
"Brute force" attacks simply
keep trying different log-in passwords until the attacker happens to get it
right. Attackers often use a dictionary of common or weak passwords and
high-powered computer systems, such as cloud computer resources, to rapidly try
many password combinations until the password is broken.
Confident KillSwitch is an
add-on image-based authentication technology designed to defend user accounts
and Websites from brute-force log-in attempts. Attackers often automate this
process, running a script to try all possible combinations to identify the
Sites that don't
automatically lock out an account after too many incorrect attempts are particularly
vulnerable to brute-force attacks since the script can continue trying out
password guesses until it succeeds.
"Today's most common attack
methods are still quite basic: keyloggers that steal a person's user name and
password, brute-force dictionary attacks on the log-in, or simply guessing
people's weak passwords and PINs," said Curtis Staker, CEO of Confident
In a recent Cambridge
University survey of 150 popular Websites, more than 126 sites, or 84 percent,
were found to not restrict the number of failed log-in attempts. The list included
Amazon, eBay and WordPress.
Since many people have a
hard time remembering their passwords, they keep trying until they get it
right. "Most Websites allow far too many failed authentication attempts
because they can't tell if it's a legitimate user who has forgotten their
password or if it's a criminal attempting to break into the account,"
More than half of major data
breaches in 2010 were the result of attackers using brute-force software, which
relies on a dictionary database to exploit weak passwords, according to
Verizon's 2011 Data Breach Investigations report.
KillSwitch lets network
managers tell the difference between legitimate log-in failures and an attacker
trying randomly generated passwords, Confident said.
To log on to a site deployed
with Confident's technology, the user has to choose a sequence of encrypted
images to create a unique one-time password. During registration, the user
selects several categories in a certain order, such as fruit, animal and car.
During the log-in process, the user is not asked to select the same image each
time since it varies each time. Instead, the user selects images that fit that
secret category sequence, such as selecting an apple, dog and a Jeep for one
log-in, and a banana, cat and a Porsche at a later time.
With KillSwitch, the user is
asked during registration to block two categories that will never be used. If a
third-party trying to figure out the user's image sequence accidentally selects
an image that is in the "no pass" category, then the system sends out
an alert to the network administrator to warn about a possible breach and
collect information about the attempt, such as the attacking IP address,
behavioral biometrics and geographic location.
Confident KillSwitch is
cloud-based and can be integrated with any of Confident's image-based
authentication products for Web sites, mobile applications and mobile devices,
the company said.
With the spate of data
breaches and increased hacking in 2011, the market is flooded with products
promising to foil attackers. Network forensics tools track down everything
attackers are doing on the network, and sophisticated security information and
event management (SIEM) systems correlate logs and identify anomalies. New
network-monitoring tools designed to identify botnet traffic from all the other
Web traffic help administrators find and shut down infected systems.