How Secure Are Your Passwords?

We all think hackers won’t crack our own passwords, even if they’re easy ones with only a few characters, but just how easy is it for someone to break into an online login?

According to new research, anything with six characters, regardless of whether numbers or symbols are included, can be cracked instantly.

The same goes for anything that’s seven or eight characters but made up of just numbers or lower case letters, but the news doesn’t get much better for any eight-character combination.

In fact, they can all be guessed in approximately 39 minutes according to US cybersecurity company Hive Systems, which is based in Richmond, Virginia.

On the flip side, the way to ensure that your password isn’t cracked for some 438 trillion years is to use 18 characters made up of numbers, upper and lower case letters and symbols.

Of course, that would take you quite a while to input every time.

And research suggests that a more manageable 11 character password featuring the same alternative features would be cracked in about 34 years.

Hive Systems made a colour coded table for 2022, demonstrating how safe user passwords actually are.

The company said its data was based on how long it would take a consumer budget hacker to crack your password hash using a desktop computer with a top tier graphics card, and that if you use the same password on numerous sites, you’re in for a bad time.

The firm also discussed hashing, a technique that protects stolen passwords, and how hackers get around the one-way algorithm.

In the context of passwords, a hash is a scrambled arrangement of text that’s reproducible if you know what hash software was used.

For example, if the word ‘password’ is hashed using MD5 software the output would be 5f4dcc3b5aa765d61d8327deb882cf99.

Passwords you use on websites are held in servers as hashed instead of in plain text like ‘password’ so that if someone views them, in theory, they won’t know the actual password.

In the given example for ‘password’, the hacker would only see 5f4dcc3b5aa765d61d8327deb882cf99.

It’s impossible to reverse this hash to produce the word ‘password’, but what hackers do is make a list of all the combinations of characters on your keyboard so they can then begin hashing them, but finding matches between this list and the hashes from the pilfered passwords, hackers can figure out the user’s real password, which in turn lets them access to your logins for various websites.

In the end, people end up having so many passwords, usernames, verification codes, and some people would never remember them, so many have them written down in a book, especially those that are in their 60’s and 70’s and aren’t immortal, and then, of course, you have the phone where you phone and have to give passwords for that, or verification questions such as your hometown, first dogs name, mum’s maiden name and school.

Quite honestly this is all getting beyond ridiculous, especially when companies want us to all go paperless, which makes using a bank or utility company so difficult to use. There were the days of the cheque book but now everything’s online.

Now they’re saying that your password can be hacked in an hour, which is absolute garbage. The reality is that most only allow three tries before they force a 30-second pause for another attempt, which means that a brute force attack isn’t going to be completed in an hour. I’m not saying that it can’t be done at all, but it would take much longer than that.

Published by Angela Lloyd

My vision on life is pretty broad, therefore I like to address specific subjects that intrigue me. Therefore I really appreciate the world of politics, though I have no actual views on who I will vote for, that I will not tell you, so please do not ask! I am like an observation station when it comes to writing, and I simply take the news and make it my own. I have no expectations, I simply love to write, and I know this seems really odd, but I don't get paid for it, I really like what I do and since I am never under any pressure, I constantly find that I write much better, rather than being blanketed under masses of paperwork and articles that I am on a deadline to complete. The chances are, that whilst all other journalists are out there, ripping their hair out, attempting to get their articles completed, I'm simply rambling along at my convenience creating my perfect piece. I guess it must look pretty unpleasant to some of you that I work for nothing, perhaps even brutal. Perhaps I have an obvious disregard for authority, I have no idea, but I would sooner be working for myself, than under somebody else, excuse the pun! Small I maybe, but substantial I will become, eventually. My desk is the most chaotic mess, though surprisingly I know where everything is, and I think that I would be quite unsuited for a desk job. My views on matters vary and I am extremely open-minded to the stuff that I write about, but what I write about is the truth and getting it out there, because the people must be acquainted. Though I am quite entertained by what goes on in the world. My spotlight is mostly to do with politics, though I do write other material as well, but it's essentially politics that I am involved in, and I tend to concentrate my attention on that, however, information is essential. If you have information the possibilities are endless because you are only limited by your own imagination...

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