Security

Discover 4 ways to improve your current password and test it

Ways to protect your passwordPasswords and the digital world

Passwords in today’s digital world are the most common way to prevent unauthorised access to your personal information. But just having one does not mean you are safe from unauthorised access.

Passwords require complexity to be secure. To put it in perspective, hackers can employ cracking tools that can try 223 000 passwords per second! Their database can contain as many as 14.3 million words. This makes for a very effective way in gaining access to your digital information.

We’ll also need to put things in perspective just in case you felt hopeless. For a hacker to run their password cracking tools they will first need to get access to the password database of a website that stores your account details. For example, they would need to first hack into Facebook and steal the password databases, which in itself could be very hard. Then there’s also other ways of trying to guess your password, which I won’t cover here.

With all that said here are some ways you can protect yourself:

  • Don’t use words that exist in a dictionary. As a very minimum you should not use any words in the dictionary as your full password. Just adding a number or two to that word also won’t suffice.
  • Aim for long complex passwords. 15 or more characters. Some cracking tools have cracked 55-charter long passwords. Think of a phrase only you know and add or swap letters with numbers and characters.
  • Try and use different passwords for different types of accounts. One for social media and a different one for finances.
  • Change it every few months. At least twice a year. This way hackers have a smaller chance to use an old cracked password database to access your current account.

Test how long it will take to hack your password. Intel has a website where you can enter a password which you think would be secure (DON’T enter your own) and they will estimate how long it will take to crack it. Remember this is only an estimate, but will give you a good idea of what a secure one should look like.

Any comments welcome.