These days with the ever growing technology in faster computers, the ability of the hackers to crack passwords is becoming a lot easier for them to do. So if you are wondering what is the importance of passwords, well then stick around and let’s go over the reasons why it is more important now than ever to have good strong passwords that would take hackers months to crack.
Here are a few things to know that most people don’t about passwords
You’re probably aware that most website that require a password will only give you three shots at entering the correct one, after that locking you out. So you are probably thinking that the hacker has to go through the same steps.
Well that’s not the case, what the hacker does is steals the password file from the site and then they can crack it offline using whatever tools they have and once they have the correct one, then and only then do they go to the site and enter the right password. And once there in they can change the password and block you from getting back in yourself, and of course they will be robbing you blind at that time. 🙁
How do they do it?
Hackers use a Varity of software tools to crack passwords; one of them is the dictionary based attacks that will hash through a list of common words, phrases, names, cities, and numbers, (you get the point, right). Another is keyboard patterns like when you remember using a pattern in hitting keys in a certain pattern like diagonally, or something similar.
For example the first two columns on the keyboard “1qaz2wsx” (looks random) or the top row “qwertyui”, again looks random, but there not because they have software that will look for these types along with everything else in a matter of seconds.
There software programs will go through all of the variation of these methods of passwords in a matter of seconds. And there are others like shoulder surfing to brute force to retrieve your passwords.
What most sites require for passwords:
Another problem with passwords is that most sites require you to have at least 8 characters in length, and contain a mix of upper and lower case letters, along with symbols and numbers. So with that most of us tend to construct a phrase like so.
- Taking a pets name like “rusty” and modifying it to contain the required mix of characters
- So you go and capitalize the first and last letter “RustY”
- Then you go and add a number, usually 1 or 2, to the end “RustY2”
- And then add a symbol like ! Following the 2 at the end “RustY2!”
- Now you need to make it 8 characters long, so you go and add 8 to the end “RustY2!8”
- And there you have it, a password that meets all the requirements, and is easy to remember.
Well does this look familiar, it more than likely does, but don’t be hard on yourself because this is a common way that a lot of people (including myself) 🙁 tend to do it. And guess what, hackers know this and with their arsenal of cracking tools they will again be able to solve this within seconds. So we still need to be more randomized with our words. Take a look at the top 25 worst passwords used in 2015 compiled by SplashData’s.com
1.123456 7. football 13. abc123 19. letmein
2. Password 8. 1234 14. 111111 20. login
3. 12345678 9. 1234567 15. 1qaz2wsx 21. princess
4. qwerty 10. baseball 16. dragon 22. qwertyuiop
5. 12345 11. Welcome 17. master 23. solo
6. 123456789 12. 1234567890 18. monkey 24. passw0rd
From what you have learned so far you can see there is not too much thought that went into selecting these, and you can bet these are the first ones that hackers are going to use, and you would be surprised as to how often they get lucky in trying these out and hit pay dirt.
Let’s cover some Do’s and Don’ts in making a password:
- Don’t use the same password for all of your sites; once they crack one, they got you for the rest.
- Do not use any of the above 25 worst ones. This one is obvious by now.
- Never use the same password that you use for your email accounts. Once they crack into an e-commerce site that you are registered to, they’ll have access to your email and from there you lose.
- Don’t store your passwords on your computer in a file that’s not encrypted. Any hacker that hacks into your computer will find that without breaking a sweat. It is all right to store them on a piece of paper, just make sure you keep it safely hidden.
- Never use your user name as your password. User names are out there for everyone to see; again, once they have that, they got you.
- I think you get the gist of it by now.
Here are some things to keep in mind when creating a password:
- You will want to make it something you can remember and be able to type it in fast without looking at the keyboard to prevent someone from shoulder surfing.
- Remember the longer the better, 10 characters or longer is great.
- Don’t forget to use special characters, along with upper and lower case letters and throw in some numbers.
- Remember to change your passwords at least twice a year. This way if there working on one that is going to take them a year to crack, you will have it changed by then!
- Use a password manager to keep track of all your passwords. There are a lot of free ones out there. This way all you have to do is remember one Master Password. I’ll show you some below.
Learn how to make a strong password that you can remember:
Here is an example of how you might go about constructing a password to meet the criteria of a strong password, and be able to remember it.
First thing is to start with a sentence that will be easy for you to remember like so, “I still remember the first college dorm I stayed at in 2004 in the city of New York”
Now to turn it into the password by taking the first letter of each word and adding upper case to a few like so “IsrtFcdIsai24!itcoNY” This is a strong password at 16 characters meeting the criteria of being random and containing upper and lower case letters, along with numbers and symbols, and all you have to do is remember the sentence, along with which characters are upper case and your numbers and symbols. Pretty nifty huh? And this would keep even the best hacker from cracking it any time soon. 🙂
OK how am I going to remember different sentence per website I visit?
You won’t. This is where a password manager comes in real handy to use, all you will need to do is remember one Master Password like the one above and let the manager come up with strong randomized words for all of your websites you visit requiring a password. It will then store this password in an encrypted file that you can have stored locally or online.
You can also set them up to auto log you in, saving you the hassle of typing them in yourself, all that and more for free. Or if you want to have more features, you can purchase their pro version which will give you the ability to have your passwords synced across all or part of your devices, and keep your passwords saved in an encrypted vault on their site.
That way you can retrieve your information at any time should the need accrue, all for less than forty bucks a year, and some that are a onetime purchase.
Here are three of the top Password Managers that most people are using, Dashlane, LastPass, and KeePass. And of course there are a lot more out there that you could choose from, the idea here is to get you to check them out and upgrade your password managing system to something that will keep your information secure and safe. If you want more information on the Best Password Manager software please click here.
The last thing you want is for some hacker to break your password and steal your most valuable information and bankrupt you. Let’s make it as difficult as possible for them.
So What is The Importance of Passwords
Well now, I hope by reading this post you have a better understanding why having good strong passwords are vital in keeping your information safe from hackers.
And you have a better idea of what type of passwords to avoid using, along with what to do when you’re contemplating your Master Password. And don’t forget to change your passwords at least twice a year along with your other computer maintenance that you do to keep your computer in good shape. Oh you don’t do maintenance, well if you got a moment check out my post on How to keep your computer running like new.
Now if you have any question, ask away in the comment section below and I will be more than happy to answer them by the next day. Hey if you have other ways of coming up with a strong password that is easy to remember, why not share it with us. And by all means be sure to share this post with your friends and family so we can all fight the hackers together!
I’m glad you stopped by and I hope you have wonderful day computing at home or office.