What is a dictionary attack?

EQ Admin

EQ Forum Admin
Staff member

Have you ever heard the term dictionary attack and wondered what it means?

There are two different meaning for this phrase.

The first is related to mail servers. A dictionary attack is when a spammer tried to send an e-mail to every possible username at a domain name. For example a @domain.com, b @domain.com, c @domain.com. The spammer then uses the smtp rejections and/or bounce messages to generate a list of valid e-mail addresses at the domain that they can later spam or sell to other spammers.

The other definition is related to your password security. A spammer, hacker, or any other person trying to get into your e-mail account can hope that you have a weak password and use an automated program to try and login to your account using words and variations of words found in the dictionary hoping to gain access to your account.

If you do have a weak password please see our article about how to create a strong email password.