The Microsoft Detection and Response Team (DART) recently notified the public of an increase in password spray attacks with privileged cloud accounts and high-profile identities such as C-Level Executive, which serve as popular targets for these types of attacks.

Spray attacks are a type of brute force attack in which attackers attempt to gain access to large account lists by using a small number of commonly used passwords.

DART explained in a blog post, “Over the past year, the Microsoft Detection and Response Team (DART), along with Microsoft’s threat intelligence teams, have observed an uptick in the use of password sprays as an attack vector. Recently, DART has seen an uptick in cloud administrator accounts being targeted in password spray attacks, so understanding the targets is a good place to start.”

Password spraying makes it less likely to trigger an account freeze, as they are the target of classic brute-force attacks that quickly attempt to log into a small number of accounts using an extensive password list. Therefore, DART recommended that organizations enable and enforce multi-factor authentication (MFA) across all accounts, using password-free technology to reduce the risk of such attacks.