If you’re worried about your password being hacked, here are a few simple tips to help you choose an unbreakable one!
We could write a whole post just on how hackers steal your password, but for simplicity we’ll summarise them as follows:
- Phishing – This is where someone poses as a trusted source to get you to give up your credentials.
- Brute Force attacks – This is an attack that will try every combination of characters at immense speed until it gets your password right. It’s common for hacking software to use a common phrase dictionary to try likely word and character combinations.
- Malware -Some malware can install a key-logger on your machine that sends everything you type to the hacker, including your password.
Before we get started you may want to check how secure your password is here – the results may shock you.
So how can you make your password unbreakable? Here are our top 5 tips
- Make sure you use at least three of the following; an upper case letter, a lower case letter, a number, and a special character.
The combination of various character types make a password harder to crack. Password cracking tools work on common combinations of characters using a password cracking dictionary. It stands to reason that a password littered with random characters will be harder to guess.
- Make sure the password is long… really long.
A long password is far harder to hack then a shorter one. For example, imagine how much easier it would be to win the lottery if you only had to guess 2 balls correctly? Now imagine if you had to guess 100 balls, all correctly – it’s safe to assume that we wouldn’t see too many people winning the jackpot! Being long doesn’t mean it doesn’t have to be memorable. For example you could use your favourite quote with some characters substituted to make a very long and complex password. Make sure your password is at least 8 characters long, but the longer the better.
- Use different passwords for different accounts.
While it may hurt your head to just think of remembering dozens of long passwords, it really is important. That online shopping site you use may not be as secure as you think, and if your password becomes compromised the same credentials could be used to access your work or social media accounts. If you’re really having trouble remembering, try using a reputable password management software.
- Use Multi-Factor Authentication.
So in reality, no password is unbreakable. There will always be ways around, such as unknowingly being phished. Multi-Factor Authentication requires that you validate your identity with multiple methods – for example by getting a text sent to your phone with a code to use in tandem with your password. This means that even if your password is stolen, your account can still remain secure.
- Don’t keep changing your password.
This might seem counter-intuitive, but if you’re using a strong password, don’t keep changing it. If you have to change it all the time there’s a chance you will keep forgetting it and will write it down or start making it simpler and easier to remember (and guess).
It goes without saying that even with the strongest password in the world, your account and data can still be compromised. For this reason it’s critical you do more than just use a secure password and consider implementing other cybersecurity measures (take a look at our cybersecurity page here).
Impreza are an IT Support and Cybersecurity Specialist servicing Kent and the South-East.