Top Identity-Based Cyberattacks You Should Know

Written By Sambita Panigrahy  
Anuraag Singh
Approved By Anuraag Singh 
Published On November 8th, 2023
Reading Time 7 Minutes Reading
In this article, we’ll introduce the top 7 identity-based cyberattacks that are posing a real threat to both businesses and individuals. So, read on till the end to find out more interesting insights on these attacks.

It may seem unusual but 80% of online breaches use compromised identities. Unfortunately, the real challenge with identity-driven attacks is that it’s very difficult to detect. It may take up to 250 days to identify. 

In the case of identity-based attacks, it’s tricky to differentiate between the user’s actual behavior and that of the hacker using traditional security measures. 

For a better understanding of today’s advanced attack approaches, let’s cover the top 7 identity-based cyberattacks.

1. Credential Stuffing

In “credential stuffing,” hackers attempt to log into a different system using stolen login information from one system.

Attacks involving the stuffing of credentials usually take a straightforward course. To get started, the attacker uses credentials from compromised accounts that have been stolen or purchases them on the dark web. 

After they have the login information, the attacker will attempt to get into numerous unconnected accounts at once by using a botnet or another automation tool. The bot then determines if any more services or accounts were allowed access. If the login attempt was successful, the attacker would next obtain more details, including personal information, credit card, or bank account information that was previously stored.

2. Password Spraying

A hacker employing a single, shared password against numerous accounts is known as “password spraying” and it comes under a brute force attack.

The attacker first compiles a list of usernames, after which they use the same password to try to get into all of them. In order to compromise the target authentication system and get access to accounts and systems, the attacker continues the process using fresh passwords.

3. Golden Ticket Attack

A golden ticket attack aims to get virtually unrestricted access to a domain belonging to a company by gaining access to user information kept in Microsoft Active Directory (AD). 

This attack bypasses standard authentication by taking advantage of flaws in the Kerberos identity authentication protocol, which is used to access the AD.

The fully qualified domain name, the domain’s security identification, the KRBTGT password hash, and the username of the account the attacker intends to access are required for a golden ticket attack.

4. Man-in-the-Middle Attack

A man-in-the-middle (MITM) attack occurs when a perpetrator enters a discussion between a user and an application, either to overhear the conversation or to pose as one of the participants, giving the impression that a typical information exchange is happening.

The goal of an attack is to steal personal information, such as login information, credit card numbers, and account information. Frequent users of financial apps, SaaS companies, e-commerce websites, and other websites that require signing in are the main targets.

Identity theft, illicit financial transfers, and password changes are just a few examples of how information obtained during an attack could be used.

An advanced persistent threat (APT) attack can also use the infiltration phase to breach a secured perimeter.

5. Pass-the-Hash Attack

An adversary steals a “hashed” user credential and uses it to start a new user session on the same network in a cybersecurity attack known as pass-the-hash (PtH).

Usually, the attacker uses a social engineering technique to enter the network. After the attacker gets access to the user’s account, they can access the hashes by using a variety of tools and methods that scour active memory for information.

The attacker acquires total system access with one or more verified password hashes, allowing for network-wide lateral movement. As the attacker assumes the user’s identity from one application to the next, they frequently engage in hash harvesting, gathering more hashes throughout the system that they can use to gain access to more networks, grant account privileges, target privileged accounts, and set up backdoors and other access points for future use.

6. Kerberoasting

A post-exploitation attack method called “Kerberoasting” aims to decrypt the password of an AD service account.

An adversary conducting such an attack poses as an account user with a service principal name (SPN) and demands a ticket, which contains a password that has been encrypted, or Kerberos. An SPN is an attribute that connects a service to a user account in the AD. The attacker then uses brute force tactics while working offline to decrypt the password hash.

Once the service account’s plaintext credentials have been revealed, the adversary has access to user credentials that they can use to pretend to be the account owner.

7. Silver Ticket Attack

A silver ticket is a fake authentication ticket frequently made when an attacker has the password to an account. This authentication is used in silver ticket attacks to create fake service tickets. The resources for the particular service that the silver ticket attack is targeting are accessible through a forged service ticket that is encrypted.

The hacker can execute code as the targeted local system once they have the forgery for the silver ticket. Once their privileges have been increased on the local host, they can start traveling around the compromised environment laterally or even make a golden ticket. This provides them access to services other than the one they were originally after, and it’s a trick to get around cybersecurity safeguards.

identity-based cyberattacks

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Deal With Identity-Based Cyberattacks With The Three Steps

Identity-based cyber attacks can come in many forms but organizations must have plans in place to deal with them. 

Since approximately 50% of security leaders report an increase in physical security threats and incidents at their organizations over the past year, they must allocate enough resources to address the converging digital and physical dangers of identity-based cyber attacks.

Here are three actions businesses may take to safeguard both themselves and their clients.

1. Early Threat Identification

Early detection methods are the most effective way to reduce risks. Geographic proximity is no longer a reliable indicator of danger due to the global reach of identity-based cyberattacks and scams. 

As per one of the Australian Media and Communications Authority, levied fines of nearly $200,000 in September 2022 for failing to conduct thorough identity checks when transferring mobile phone number data, which led to the compromise of some customers’ email and banking accounts as well as other fraud-related issues.

2. Proactive and Meticulous Compliance With Regulations

Companies risk facing serious legal and financial repercussions if they fail to take proactive measures to protect the identity-based data of their customers and staff. To understand the potential ramifications, look no further than the Personal Data Protection Bill.

Organizations need to be aware of successfully navigating new governmental requirements and implement more robust threat intelligence programs before it is too late.

This implies that key decisions relating to security and privacy must engage the board and senior leadership. Implementing customized security programming for businesses of all sizes and needs, ongoing updating of a comprehensive response plan, and proper surveillance of the creation and transfer of sensitive data are key preventative measures.

3. Prepare for Regulatory Changes

Businesses need to be aware of identity-based cyberattacks and be ready for modifications to data management requirements. The best practices include both short-term and long-term planning activities, such as cross-functional teamwork, proactive cybersecurity capability evaluation, and technical gap detection.

Note: If you need any kind of cybersecurity assistance contact our expert team now!


Q- What is an identity-based attack?

An identity-based cyberattack is a kind of cyberattack that aims to obtain unauthorized access to systems, accounts, or data by compromising or stealing user identities, such as passwords, usernames, or personal information.

Q- How can I defend my internet accounts against cyberattacks that use my identity?

Make sure to use strong and distinct passwords for all of your online accounts, turn on Multi factor authentication, exercise caution when downloading files or clicking on dubious links, and update your security settings frequently.

Q- Can I identify identity-based intrusions with the use of any tools or services?

Indeed, there are security technologies and services that can assist in detecting and lessening identity-based cyberattacks. Examples include antivirus software, email filters, and identity theft protection services.

Q- How can businesses defend themselves against cyberattacks using stolen identities?

To defend against identity-based intrusions, organizations should put advanced threat detection systems, access controls, authentication methods, and incident response plans into place. They can also train and educate employees.