Failed Logins and Why They Are Important

The most common method by far of hacking websites is distinctly low tech. It simply involves repeatedly attempting to login to a website by guessing the username/password combination. Software can be used to automate this process so that hackers can attempt thousands of login guesses in a very short period of time. The very simple way to prevent this type of attack is to detect repeated failed login attempts from a single device and then blocking the IP address of that device for a period of time. We use an excellent piece of software called Wordfence which, among many other security functions does, precisely this.

This sounds easy enough, but the situation in schools is made more complex by the fact that the internet regards a school’s whole network as a single device because it usually only has a single external IP address. This means that if a class of 30 all failed to login 4 times in an IT lesson that would equate to 120 failed logins and would trip our site security locking the school’s IP address out of the site for 30 minutes. If this happens in your school, please get in touch as we can raise the threshold to a higher number of failures.

Wordfence, however, can also help you because on the Network Admin dashboard you will see a list of the current top 5 login failures. In the example below you can see that simply by coaching these 5 children you will prevent 99 failed logins at a stroke, and presumably relieve a lot of frustration while you are at it. In the case of Jake you can see that he has simply got the number and name in the wrong order in his username.


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