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Protecting Your Exchange Server from Password Spray Attacks with Authentication Policies

Using Authentication Policies to Fight Password Spray Attacks
What is a Password Spray Attack?
Password spray attacks are a form of brute force attack that targets a large number of user accounts. Instead of trying to guess the correct password for each account, attackers use a single password that they believe is likely to work on multiple accounts. This method is more effective than a traditional brute force attack because it requires fewer attempts and can still be successful.

How to Mitigate Password Spray Attacks
There are several ways to mitigate password spray attacks, including:

1. Use Authentication Policies
Authentication policies are a powerful tool for blocking password spray attacks. Authentication policies allow administrators to define the number of failed login attempts allowed before a user account is locked. This helps to prevent attackers from trying the same password on multiple accounts.

2. Deploy Multi-Factor Authentication
Multi-factor authentication (MFA) adds an additional layer of security by requiring users to provide additional information in order to gain access to their accounts. MFA can be used to block attackers who are attempting to guess passwords, as they would need to have access to both the password and the additional authentication factor.

3. Monitor Account Activity
Monitoring account activity can help to identify suspicious or abnormal behavior that could indicate a password spraying attack. Administrators should be on the lookout for multiple failed login attempts from the same IP address or multiple failed login attempts from different IP addresses within a short period of time.

Conclusion
Password spray attacks are a growing problem, but they can be mitigated with the right tools and processes. Authentication policies, multi-factor authentication, and monitoring of account activity can all help to protect users from these attacks. It’s important for administrators to be aware of the risks associated with password spray attacks and to take steps to protect their users.
References:
Use Authentication Policies to Fight Password Spray Attacks

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