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Passwords are one of the many defenses in place to protect your sensitive information from getting into the wrong hands. Hacking or guessing your password is one of the most basic tactics a cyber criminal will use to gain access to your accounts.
A weak password provides attackers with very easy access to your computer system. Strong passwords are considerably harder to crack (or break) – and that’s even with the powerful password-cracking software that is available today. Password-cracking software continue to improve, and the computers that are used to crack passwords are growing more powerful than ever.
Some common methods that attackers use for discovering a victim's password include:
- Guessing—The attacker attempts to log on using the user's account by repeatedly guessing likely words and phrases such as their children's names, their city of birth, and local sports teams.
- Online Dictionary Attack—The attacker uses an automated program that includes a text file of words. The program repeatedly attempts to log on to the target system using a different word from the text file on each try.
- Offline Dictionary Attack—Similar to the online dictionary attack, the attacker gets a copy of the file where the hashed or encrypted copy of user accounts and passwords are stored and uses an automated program to determine what the password is for each account.
- Offline Brute Force Attack—This is a variation of the dictionary attacks, but it is designed to determine passwords that may not be included in the text file used in those attacks.
How to Create a Strong Password
- Make your passwords very long.
- Don’t use a common phrase.
- Include numbers, symbols, capital letters, & lowercase letters.
- Don’t use dictionary word or combination of dictionary word.
- Don’t reuse your password.
- use a password manager.
- Make the password 10 characters or longer.
- Don’t store passwords in your browser.
- use two-factor authentication.
- Don’t rely on obvious substitution.
- Create a unique acronym for a sentence or phrase you like.
- Include phonetic replacements, such as 'Luv 2 Laf' for 'Love to Laugh'.
- Jumble together some pronounceable syllables, such as 'iv,mockRek9'.