SAN DIEGO — When it comes to online passwords, some of us have dozens of different ones we use to get onto various sites. But, how secure are they?
Do longer passwords better protect your account?
Yes, longer passwords with more characters, numbers and a mixture of upper and lower case can make it harder for a hacker to crack your password.
WHAT WE FOUND
Cybersecurity company, Hive Systems, released a chart which suggests while some passwords take just minutes for the average hacker to figure out. Others are so full proof, it would take trillions of years.
The chart shows passwords with the fewest characters are pretty easy for the average hacker to crack.
But, as the length of your password gets longer, so does the time it takes to figure out.
For example, if your password is eight characters with numbers or lowercase letters only, a hacker can break in instantly.
if it's 18 characters with numbers, upper and lower case letters, as well as symbols, it would take 438 trillion years.
Both say hackers have gotten so good that passwords once considered full proof aren't anymore.
"As the bad guys get more sophisticated in their attacks, they're able to whittle away a little bit at the protections you have from passwords," said Lee.
"That's really scary because it means passwords that could be hacked in 10's, 20's and thousands of years in 2020, can now be hacked in just five or ten years in 2022," said Nette.
Hackers want your passwords as opposed to other personal information because they're worth more, says Lee.
"It's more valuable to them than even your social security number. Your Gmail account if you have one is worth about 80 dollars on the dark web. Your social security is with two or less."
As for the Hive Systems chart, it was created with the same technology used to mine crypto currency.
According to our experts, it's accurate.
"It is true. It is accurate and it is important that people pay attention to it because the bad guys today are more focused on stealing your password and login info than any other piece of information you have," said Lee.
Ways to protect your password
- Use long passwords, like a movie quote or book title you can remember.
- Don't re-use passwords.
- Use two-factor authentication to secure your password even more.
- Consider using a password manager, which helps you keep track of what your passwords are.
"While passwords are not everything in terms of cyber security they are the biggest thing we as consumers have in protecting our data in 2022," said Nette.
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