Have you ever found yourself wondering how you can remember 18 passwords but forget what day of the week it is? Don’t worry, it happens to the best of us, and in honor of World Password Day, we’re here to talk all things password-related.
We have approached a time in the digital age where passwords are required for everything and 53% of the population rely only on their memory for password storage; no wonder we can’t remember what day of the week it is! From our phones and social media profiles to our emails and computers, the list grows almost as fast as the requirements for a strong password.
Before we dive into what makes a good password, let’s take a look at some of the most common passwords and how quickly they can be cracked.
- 123456 - Less than one second
- password - Less than one second
- qwerty - Less than one second
- unknown - 17 minutes
- default - 3 minutes
- picture1 - 3 hours
Password cracking can be done in a variety of ways, and understanding how it is done might help you in the fight against being hacked.
One of the most common techniques is through phishing. Potential victims are lured into clicking links or attachments containing password-extracting malware which is installed on their device or system. Another method is through a brute force attack. When a brute force attack occurs, a hacker goes through the most common words and phrases used in passwords in an attempt to find the right one. A dictionary attack is a type of brute force attack in which a file is created with a predefined password list containing higher-probability password combinations. Prior to attempting a brute force or dictionary attack, some hackers use a technique called spidering to gather information about the individual or company to create a word list to crack the password even faster.
Whether we like it or not, strong passwords are critical to the safety of our personal and business information. They act as the first line of defense from potentially malicious attacks which could grant hackers access to copious amounts of unauthorized information. While it may be tedious to continuously come up with new combinations of letters, words, and special characters for your profiles and device passwords, the time spent doing so could save you serious heartache!
We’ve tried to make the process a little easier by including some key tips to keep in mind when creating a strong password.
Five Tips to Creating a Strong Password
- Don’t use identifying information such as names, birthdays, anniversaries or pet names
- Create complex passwords containing at least eight or more upper and lowercase letters, numbers, and symbols
- Avoid patterns and the use of consecutive letters or numbers on the keyboard
- Instead of using a single word, try to create a passphrase or a sentence
- Do not recycle passwords across profiles or devices
Whether it’s World Password Day or just another Tuesday, strong passwords are vital for protecting your information. We know they can be hard to create and even harder to keep up with, so we recommend the use of a trusted password management tool to help keep everything in one place. We’ve included a list of the top five free password management tools, as ranked by PCMag, so you can finally get back to keeping up with the days of the week instead of a laundry-list of passwords!
Want to learn more about safeguarding your privacy and keeping hackers at bay? INE's Cyber Security training offers hundreds of hours of on-demand content covering all areas of information security. Get started today!