“Do you have a secure and strong password?” – In an age when one study found that 19% of all business passwords are “easily compromised,” that’s a question you should be asking yourself regularly.
According to another study, about 35% of LinkedIn users have weak passwords (roughly 63 million people worldwide), putting them at risk of a cyber-attack in the future.
As a result, most people’s current passwords aren’t nearly as secure as they believe.
What Is a Strong Password?
Your password serves as the first line of defense against hackers. Therefore, you must learn how to create a strong password and put it into practice. A strong password is difficult to guess while also being simple to remember. It appears that the requirements for creating a strong password are becoming increasingly stringent. There is, however, a reason for it.
Hackers are becoming more sophisticated, and the rise in data breaches means your password is almost certainly already out there on the internet. As a result, it’s risky to reuse a password (even if it’s a strong one). As a result, all of your passwords should be strong and unique.
Characteristics Of a Strong Password
If you follow the proper steps, creating a strong password that you can remember is simple. First, we’ll start with the characteristics that make a password secure. After that, we’ll review some strategies for retaining and protecting your passwords.
A Strong Password Is At Least 20 Characters Long
The first step in creating a strong password is to make it long. A strong password is long. At least 20 characters are necessary for a strong password. Attackers can crack your password in 58 seconds if it is eight characters or less.
A Strong Password Uses Combination of Symbols
A strong password should include numbers, unique symbols, lowercase letters, and uppercase letters for added security. During a brute force attack, hackers attempt to guess your password by trying every possible combination of letters. It becomes more difficult to guess because you create more possible combinations by having special characters and numbers in your password. In addition, you’re less likely to be a victim of a brute force login attack if your password contains special symbols and unique characters.
A Strong Password Does Not Contain Any Obvious Information
When considering the methods outlined above for creating a strong password, it’s natural to gravitate toward the numbers, letters, or phrases you recognize. However, if you use your birthday, zip code, or address, hackers can easily track you down on the internet. Although you should avoid using personally identifiable information in your password, this does not mean that your numbers, letters, and phrases must be random. Although random passwords are secure, they are also challenging to remember.
A Strong Password Includes Easy-to-Remember Acronyms and Codes
A strong password must be memorable, or it will be useless. No, scribbling all of your passwords on a sticky note next to your computer or phone isn’t the same as remembering them. It puts you in even more risk. So, is there a way to create a strong password that is also simple to remember? Yes, by using codes and acronyms related to specific things you can remember. To everyone except you, they’ll appear to be a random collection of letters, numbers, and symbols.
A Strong Password May Include a Passphrase
According to NIST’s guidelines, a passphrase works better than a password. It is extremely strong and easy to remember. For example, consider !W0rk@tR!ghtH@nd. Here, we have actually written “I Work at Right Hand” but replaced “I with !,” “a with @,” “o with 0” and started every word with a capital letter and ended with a small letter. Do you see how easy it is to remember and how hard it is to crack?
A Strong Password Has a Multifactor Authentication (MFA) Backup
MFA is a free, simple security feature that adds an extra layer of protection to your account. Unfortunately, there is no such thing as a hack-proof password, so adding a second layer of security to a strong password is the best way to keep it safe. Thus, MFA isn’t foolproof and shouldn’t be used instead of a strong password. Rather, it should be a means of safeguarding a solid password. Here’s where you can learn more about multifactor authentication.
How Does a Password Get Hacked?
We all have an idea that we must store all of our passwords somewhere – so, while we are on this thought, it is pretty easy for anyone to think that we can reach out to that storage and purchase our passwords. Hackers do the same. More often than not, hackers buy our passwords from the dark web and try several predictable combinations to find out the actual password. This is called a brute force attack.
A brute force attack is more like a trial-and-error attack. The hacker will try several combinations of passwords, hidden web pages, and encryption keys to try and guess your log-in information. That is the very reason for calling it a brute force, meaning excessive force attack, i.e., making extreme efforts to try and guess your credentials. There are several types of brute force attacks that are in use, including the following five types:
Simple Brute Force Attacks
In this technique, the hackers do not go far and beyond for guessing your password. They simply try the most logical combination that a person can use without any tool or software. This is why you must never use the top ten weak passwords, which include 123456789, qwerty, 111111, password, 123123, abc123, 987654321, password1, qwerty123, and 123xyz.
A dictionary attack is not exactly a brute force attack. Still, it is classified as one because it also uses a lot of effort to figure out the correct password combination. In this type of attack, the hacker uses all the possible combinations of numbers, letters, and symbols; however, from a predetermined list of words from a dictionary database. The only way to stay safe from these kinds of attacks is to use an unexpected combination of phrases and words; for example, instead of using righthandmarketing, you can use mark_riha1234. The hacker can guess righthandmarketing easily using a dictionary attack, but he can never guess mark_riha1234.
Hybrid Brute Force Attacks
In this type of brute force, the logical guesses are mixed with external AI to find the exact credentials. It usually combines simple brute force attacks and dictionary attacks to break in the passwords. Consider NewYork1234 as your password. A hybrid brute force attack can easily crack it. That is why it is always advised to use a solid password combination. Say, for example, you want your password to be easy but strong, you can choose a sentence “My first pet was a cat,” now, create a password using just the first two alphabets, i.e., MyfiPewaAca!23 – How strong is that password?
Reverse Brute Force Attack
As the name suggests, this is the reverse technique of a simple brute force attack. Once a hacker knows a password to one of the log-ins of the account, he will try the same combination to all other accounts to see if that works. Nevertheless, this practice normally starts with a leaked password. Thus, using MFA and authentic password managers is always advised to store your log-in information.
Once a hacker figures out the password to one of your accounts, they will stuff the same credentials on all of your accounts to cross-check how many services they can access using the same information. This is why we strictly advise the users to use a specific password on every account.
A strong password will go a long way toward protecting your personal information. Just keep in mind that the longer the password is, the better. Also, make sure you change your password on any other sites where you use it. Finally, if you suspect that one of your accounts has been hacked, change your password right away.
Remember that stolen or weak passwords are responsible for 80% of data breaches. Right-Hand Cybersecurity supports security awareness for all organizations, including secure password management, multi-factor authentication, and more. Make an appointment for a demo right now!