Award Winning San Francisco IT Services

Tech Elite

Should you worry? ABSOFREAKINLUTELY!
Even that non-word is likely harder to crack than most passwords out there.  Guess what. I plead guilty.  No ifs, ands, birthdays, and pet names about it.  After digging into this topic, I have vowed to change my immensely foolish password ways. FAST.

Passwords & hackwords

As you may already know, your passwords are the keys to your online kingdom. Modest as your fortune may be, neglecting to create even moderately secure passwords is like leaving your car running in front of WalMart. In a really shifty neighborhood!  HELLOOO! You’re begging for it!
hackers

The ABCs, the XYZs, and the 123s of lame passwords.

I implore you. Do a search for “password hack times”. I did, and it’s a wake-up call.  Like one of those chronic insomnia ones. The average time it takes to crack a 7-character password is .29 milliseconds. Eight characters take 5 hours, 5 days for nine characters, and so on. Point is, the longer the password, the more secure it is. And we haven’t even discussed the type of characters dim-wits like me use.

.29 MILLISECONDS = 00:00:029
That’s how long it takes to crack a 7-character password.

JUST PLAIN STUPID PASSWORDS

SplashData published a list of 2017’s top 100 most hacked passwords. I would certainly check them out, as some are pretty colorful. Ironically, “trustno1” was in the top 25. Just know, if yours has made the top 100, you’re easy pickins.

Here are just the top 10 lame passwords of 2018 from SplashData.

      1. 123456
      2. password
      3. 123456789
      4. 12345678
      5. 12345
      6. 111111
      7. 1234567
      8. sunshine
      9. querty
      10. iloveyou

FUN FACT:  Like many celebrity names, the “donald” has popped up as #23 most used passwords in 2018. And yes, it’s already been hacked.

SIMPLE WAYS TO PROTECT YOURSELF:

SIZE MATTERS – The longer your password, the more secure. Like at least 16 characters. Sweet Sixteen.

ALL IN THE MIX – All character types welcome! Numbers, uppercase, lowercase and symbols.

NOT IN THE DICTIONARY – Even if you’re proud of your stunning vocabulary, passwords are not the venue to show it off. The worst of hackers can crack your ten-dollar words. Just throwing in a number and/or special character is still low hanging fruit. If it’s in the dictionary, there’s an app to hack it!

NEVER NUMBERS ONLY! – You might as well put a bow on it! Think of it this way. There are only 10 digits in our numerical system, compared to 26 letters in the English alphabet, 52 when you consider both caps and lower-case letters. When you do that math on combination possibilities, you’ll understand why all-number passwords a welcome mat to your data.

SWITCH IT UP! – To password hackers, variety is NOT the spice of life. It’s a major roadblock. The more important the data, the more often you should change your passwords. Basic rule of thumb– every three months for your email and financial accounts (bank, credit card, trading accounts, etc.), and every six months or year for your non-financial sites. Unless, of course, you’ve got something to hide.

ONE PASSWORD NEVER, EVER SECURES ALL – I don’t care how bad your memory is. (Mine gets worse every day.) I, and the experts cannot emphasize enough that using the same or even a few passwords for your online data is a total bonehead thing to do.

PASSPHRASES INSTEAD OF PASSWORDSThis definitely puts the brakes on today’s hackers. Here’s how it works.

Ways your “passphrase” might work:

      1. First, think of a phrase or sentence that’s easy for YOU to remember. Here’s one that works for me: “You Better Keep Your Dang Hands Off My Millions!
      2.  Next, using the first letter of each word of your memorable phrase, create a series of letters. Here’s mine, plus my exclamation point be: YBKYDHOMM!
      3.  Now, change up the letters with lowercase letters, numbers or symbols to really confuse that substitute those letters with
      4. then change it up caps and lower case, number or symbol substitutions, or even use a type emoticon for a word or letter. I used the first letter of each word, varied the upper and lower case of the letters, and substituted symbols and numbers that resemble the letter or the word. Feel free to use additional but memorable characters to make it longer if you like for even more security.

Sample Phrase:  

“You Better Keep Your Dang Hands Off My Millions!”
 YBKYDHOMM! = UBk¥DH0mm$!

OR, LEAVE IT ALL TO A “PASSWORD MANAGER”!

hackers busy

Personally, all this strategy is making my tiny head spin. So, I’m going to leave it to a password manager!  It may be exactly what I, and millions of others like me, need to manage, protect and most importantly never forget our passwords!

How do password managers work?

Think of a password manager as a digital safe that helps you create unique, strong passwords for all of your accounts. On your computer, it works as a password “app” that auto-fills forms. On your phone, it’s more of a copy-and-paste function.  Password managers also update your passwords automatically, so you don’t have to. Yee-Haw!

However, you will have to remember at least one password for your manager. After all, it’s not a mind reader, yet. *

Need help deciding which Password Manager is right for you? I suggest that you let the gurus at INTIVIX help you.

NO MORE SOMEDAYS! UPDATE YOUR PASSWORDS NOW!

Right, right. You’ve heard it all before. You’ll get around to it. Or, maybe you’re one of those who thinks “What are the odds?” “No one’s going to hack my passwords.”

Well, listen up Mr. or Ms. Soon-2-B Cyber Vic, your passwords have probably already been hacked! Be it identity theft, ransomware, malware and more, your passwords hold the key.  You can also check to see if there are any passwords to your email available on the Internet, check out Have I Been Pwned

* Hacker sophistication has most likely changed exponentially since you started reading this blog post. To stay up to date on how to best secure all your important data, ask our experts at INTIVIX.