Is Your Password Secure? Don’t Be So Sure

Since getting “hacked” is becoming more and more prevalent and seems to be a rite of passage for the techno-thief, password security is more important than ever. Whenever these “geniuses” of crime hack into a stores computer systems, they often have access to your passwords and once they have that, the sky’s the limit, unless you are able to change it in a timely manner. And sometimes that’s not an option if you get the word a day late and hundreds of dollars short. And even if your information is not stolen via a stores computer, there are still a number of ways for a tech-savvy crook to get your hard earned money.

In recent months, these crooks have hacked Linkedln, eHarmony, Target, and even Yahoo where user’s passwords were stolen. The total number was somewhere in the neighborhood of 30 million passwords. It was determined that they were able to steal that many because we are so bad at choosing passwords. To a lot of us, choosing a password is somewhat of a compromise between security and convenience. A complexed password is the way to go, but the downfall is that it’s so hard to remember, that you wind up having to reset it constantly because you forget what it was. Because of that fact, many of us just keep that old reliable password because we think that the chances that someone will hack into our computer is remote. But if you use the same password over and over again, sooner or later, it can be found in “leaked” databases.

The top passwords from 2013 remain what they have been for years, 123456, and 12345678 believe it or not, and I’ve got a grandson who could get into your computer in 5 minutes with those passwords. And even if you use your pet’s name and you call your pet “Fluffysuffin”, you are still not safe. That’s because the bad guys have all the new technology at there command. A hacker using a PC with a inexpensive multicore graphics processing units (GPUs) can try about 8 billion password combinations in a second because they are much better at the large-scale mathematical operations needed for cracking passwords. Some of this technology is available for free, and not to mention hackers also have access to a shared growing list of actual user passwords at their disposal.

So what makes a good password, well the experts say that no password is really secure, but what you are trying to do is make it so it takes longer to identify your password. Using upper and lower case letters and symbols is a start which increases entropy which is a measure of how random and guessable your passwords are as well as how long it would take to crack your password with brute force. Be creative when you make a password no matter how it looks, and change it once a month, and if you feel that you’ve made a password that you will never remember, keep a little notepad with you, but remember, if you lose it, it’s like giving the crooks your bankbook, not to mention the hell you’re going to have accessing your account. The more letters, numbers, and symbols you use, the better the password.. I myself use a combination totaling 14 characters, utilizing numbers and letters so a crook will have to work hard to get my password, and that’s why they’re crooks, they don’t want to work hard. Right?