When the Internet was first introduced, it was new and for some, quite confusing. As people figured out what they could do, they also discovered that securing their information was a must. The best way to do this was by creating a password.
At this point in time, the most common password used was “123456,” or something else along those lines. However, as technology increased, many people also realized that increasing the security of their information with a stronger password was a must.
Unfortunately, many people are still living back in the “dark ages” of the World Wide Web, using passwords that are easy to remember, and even easier to hack. The fact is the sophisticated tools that hackers have today means that passwords such as “123456” or “password” no longer stand a chance of securing your information. In fact, they make it almost inevitable that your information will be hacked.
The Trend of Overly Simple Passwords
Even with all the reports out there about security breaches in the past few years, which include attacks on Google’s email service, there are still quite a few Internet users who have simply shrugged off these attempted break-ins.
The fact is, a recent analysis showed that one out of every five Web users is still not bulking up their password for security purposes. They are still choosing easy-to-hack options, such as “iloveyou,” “password,” and “abc123,” which are easily guessed.
The Password Conundrum
The ability to choose a unique and secure password is not really science; however, it can be somewhat frustrating for some users, especially if they aren’t using a password generation program to help them out.
What makes it even more difficult is the fact that there is no real, clear definition of what is considered a “safe” password. This is true for both brute force hacking attempts, as well as guessing attempts. This leaves it up to the user to select the character set and character length for the passwords they use.
How Hackers are Breaking In
While it is important to learn what passwords not to use, and which ones they should use, it is just as important to understand the methods that hackers are using to gain access to personal or sensitive information. Some of the most common methods of “attack” include the following:
- Keyloggers: This is a basic tool used for getting passwords. A keylogger is in your system memory and runs when the computer is started. The keyloggers will log all of the keystrokes a user types. This log is created and then sent over to the hacker.
- RAT: This is a Remote Administration Tool. With this hackers can connect to your computer without you ever knowing and see what you are doing on the screen. The hacker can also copy files off your hard disk to their computer.
- Trojan Horses: These are common types of malware and commonly infect a person’s computer when they download the free
Hackers guess people’s passwords for quite a few reasons. There are some who just want to show off what they can do while others do this for profits. The reason is not as important as finding ways to avoid this from happening to begin with.
Passwords to Avoid at All Costs
There are some all-too-common, easy-to-hack passwords you should avoid in every scenario. These include the following:
- Any consecutive list of numbers: 123456, 654321, 123123, etc.
- Qwerty: it seems clever, but isn’t.
- Common phrases: iloveyou, password, etc.
- Business information: this includes the name of the business, address or any other commonly known information.
- The person’s date of birth.
- Simple words from the dictionary: soccer, auto garage, sunshine. Anything related to a business or a person is out.
Tips to Create Hard to Hack Passwords
Complex passwords are considered to be more secure than other options. A complex password will contain a combination of upper and lowercase letters, numbers and special symbols. There are a number of brute force calculators online that you can use to see how secure your passwords actually are.
It is also essential to create different passwords for all your accounts. Regardless of how many you have, having different, complex passwords for each one will help to secure your information and make it more hack-proof.
Another tip that may be beneficial is to use a passphrase. This is a short sentence that is easy for you to remember without having to write it down. It can describe something about your life or you, that the hacker would have a difficult time guessing or knowing.
An example of this would be:
“I have six dogs and graduated from Auburn University on May 26th, 2012.”
The next step is to take the first letter from each of the words in the phrase, ensuring you include lower and uppercase options and keeping all the numbers. This means your password would be, “IhsdagfAUoM26th2012.” There is a very good chance that this is a password that is not easily hackable, but that you will be able to remember. If you want to add a special character, turn the “I” to a “!” and you are good to go.
Other Tips to Protect Yourself from Password Hacking
There are some other tips that can help you protect yourself from would-be hackers. These include:
- Install quality anti-virus software.
- Keep the Windows Firewall turned on.
- Watch out for malware.
- Don’t auto-play any pen drive.
- Don’t automatically run attachments from email.
- If you think you have a virus of any type, get help or figure out what needs to be done.
Protecting yourself is paramount if you want to avoid having your email password from being stolen. With the tips and information here, you will not only be able to create a strong and effective password, but you will also be able to avoid the issues that go along with having your personal accounts hacked and your information stolen. This will save you quite a bit of stress in the long run.