If your dog’s name, your birthday, or Hello12345 is set as any of your account passwords you will want to keep reading this blog. Did you know that a weak password can be cracked by a hacker in under one millisecond? You might be familiar with some of the minimum requirements and practices for building strong passwords. For instance, passwords should not contain common names or items of personal significance such as birthdays, anniversaries, nicknames, pet names, etc. but there is much more to know than just the basics of having a strong password. Security breaches happen every day and password crackers are becoming exponentially more crafty and sophisticated. Cybercriminals have advanced technology that enables them to crack weak passwords in under a minute. If you’re wondering “how secure is my password?” keep reading along and you will find out.
Why is password security important?
Passwords serve as the first line of defense against unauthorized access to your devices, personal accounts, and personal information. Password security is important because it reduces risk of cybercriminals and hackers gaining access to your accounts and devices and stealing your private information. According to IBM’s research on the cost of data breaches in 2022, 83% of companies experienced more than one data breach which resulted in great financial losses for businesses and consumers alike. Secure passwords are important in keeping your online life protected.
What impact does it have on my business and personal life?
The impact of having your passwords cracked can be detrimental to both your businesses and your personal life. IBM’s 2022 report found that the global average cost of data breaches in companies is at an all time high this past year with $4.35 million in losses. Cybercriminals have various techniques to hack into companies and peoples personal accounts. First, let’s dive into what this means for businesses and the impact they experience from getting hacked, then we will explore the effects it can have on your personal life.
Hacking and stealing confidential information of companies results in grave financial loss, instability, and vulnerability. The majority of businesses that experience data breaches are due to poor password security – Verizon’s 2022 report found that 80% of hacks are due to passwords being figured out and ‘cracked’. Data breaches can lead to businesses losing thousands to millions of dollars and can eventually result in the business going under. Cybercriminals who gain access to confidential information of a business makes the business especially vulnerable. They spread inaccurate information about your business and sell data to competitors to use for ransom. It is very possible that if your business passwords get cracked, your company could be on the trajectory of going under.
If your personal accounts are hacked, your personal life can be affected immensely. Cybercriminals can gain access to your banking information and make substantial purchases or clear out your bank accounts. It is also common to steal your name and address for identity theft. The Federal Trade Commissions (FTC) 2022 report found that identity theft increased to 1.1 million reports in 2022. There are many consequences to having your identity stolen such as great financial losses, inability to secure employment, inability to obtain loans, and a massive invasion of privacy. Your life can be turned upside down from simply having an account password cracked. Start asking yourself “how long would it take to crack my password” to avoid your accounts from being hacked.
Having your password cracked can have extreme consequences on your business or personal life. In addition to financial loss and breach of privacy, your quality of life declines from extreme stress and vulnerability. Luckily, there are tools and techniques that support and ensure strong password security. Continue reading to learn how long it takes to crack your password and how to ensure this won’t happen to you.
How long would it take to crack my password?
If you’re wondering “how long will it take to crack my password” here’s your answer! It only takes .29 milliseconds to crack a 7-character password consisting of all lowercase letters. However; it would take nearly 200 years to crack a 12-character password of mixed character types. Each character you add increases the length of time it takes a password cracker to decipher your password. 8-character passwords take a few hours to crack, 9-character passwords take about a week to crack, 10-character passwords take months to crack, and 11-character passwords take about a decade to crack. Hackers are always trying new ways to crack passwords, one of the most common methods is known as the “dictionary attack” where a hacker scans lists of the most common words or phrases, in order to detect the correct word that is used in your password. Another popular technique hackers use to crack passwords is Brute Force: a trial-and-error method that takes thousands of character combinations to gain login information. You can easily avoid becoming a victim of these password cracking methods by adding numbers and special characters in your password, and not using common names.
Hive Systems is a reputable cyber-security company that develops reports on how quick hackers are able to crack your password with Brute Force. Their 2022 report concluded that Brute Force is able to instantly crack a password with few variations of character types and consisting of 11 characters or less.
It would only take milliseconds to add additional characters to your own password, and eliminate the millisecond it takes for a hacker to crack your password. Do yourself a favor today, and take those extra milliseconds of your time, so that it will take years out of theirs.
How to create a secure and strong password
There are various tips and practices to ensure you have a secure password. First thing to keep in mind is that no matter the current strength and security of your password, it will always weaken over time, so you must ensure you are keeping up to date with changing and strengthening your passwords. What may have taken a long time to crack 10 years ago can now be cracked in a matter of seconds. Passwords weaken as technology evolves and hackers become more proficient. So make sure to educate yourself and update your passwords on the latest tips and tricks for password security. Here are the current most reliable and recommended requirements for having a strong password:
- Use multiple types of characters – incorporate numbers, lowercase letters, uppercase letters and symbols. Think of each character as a type of ‘safety wall’ that hackers are trying to pass through. Strings of numbers, letters, and special characters make a password cracker’s life much more difficult.
- Have a minimum of 12-15 characters – Based on Hive’s System Password Table, if you have all the variations of character types and have 12 characters, your password is uncrackable for 3,000 years. The longer the password, the longer the time it takes to be cracked.
- Alternate numbers and symbols for letters – To make your password more complex and less crackable switch the letters out for numbers and symbols. For example, input 3 for the letter E, 5 for the letter S, or 1 for the letter L.
- Do not use any personal significance – Exclude important dates (like birthdays or anniversaries), addresses, pet names, phone numbers, children’s names, etc. from your passcode. Sometimes this information is often available online for hackers to see making it an easy guess to crack your passcode.
- Create new passwords for each account – Do not be a password repeater. It’s one of the easiest ways for a hacker to gain access to your accounts quickly. Avoid reusing passwords across different accounts. For example, ensure your email, Facebook, online banking, and Netflix accounts all have different and unique passwords.
- Avoid consecutive letters or numbers – Do not have a sequence of numbers or letters like “123456789”, “1111”, or “abcd”. The goal is to have unique and random characters so why make hackers lives easy by using the most common combinations of letters and numbers?
- Do not use common words – Avoid words such as “hello” or “password”. I know it sounds crazy; who would use “password” as their password in this day and age. You’d be surprised! According to Nordpass’ most popular password list of 2022, “password” was the number one used passcode.
- Don’t store your passwords in any account files – Avoid keeping a list of your passwords in online folders, email threads, notes, or anywhere on your personal devices. If a hacker gains access to a device of yours, you are handing them the golden ticket to breach all of your accounts. To remember the different login credentials to all your accounts, write it down in a notebook you keep in the privacy of your own home, offline and out of reach from cybercriminals.
- Encrypt your password list – if you decide to create a list in a notebook of all your passwords, make sure you encrypt them so that the list only makes sense to you. For example, if you want to write down your password “!TiohvetuL43”, instead of writing it down character-by-character, encrypt it by writing “!T********43”. Encrypting your written list of passwords ensures additional security for creating a password list so that no one can obtain and understand your codes.
- Download password monitoring tools – There are many apps and extensions that track and protect your account and login credentials. Web Of Trust (WOT) is a cybersecurity app and extension that monitors your password security and if your accounts have been hacked. Take advantage of a useful tool like WOT to alleviate stress and ensure your business and personal information is protected.
- Don’t accept password suggestions – When signing up for an account, often you are given password suggestions from the business or website. Even if the passwords they suggest look secure with multiple characters and various character types, it’s safest to come up with your own login code.
- Frequently update and change your password – Some say you should be changing your password every 3 months or so, some say every 6 months, some suggest you should avoid password changes within set time period intervals. There isn’t a distinct allotted time frame for when you should change your password. A common trend for creating a secure password is randomness, which applies here too. So here’s the rule of thumb: update and change your passwords throughout the year at random and unpredictable times.
Adopt these practices for creating a secure password so you no longer have to worry about online hackers. These tips for having a strong password will ensure your business and personal information will remain protected and secure.
Examples of long and strong passwords
Let’s clarify exactly what we mean when we are discussing long and strong passwords. Check out the image below that compares the time it takes simple passwords versus complex passwords to be cracked. As you can see, the number of characters is very important for password strength. A complex 7-character code can be cracked in around 6 weeks, compared to a complex 12-character code that won’t be cracked for 3 centuries – what a drastic difference! This image is a good reference to conceptualize the difference in security between a basic password compared to a random complex one.
How can you tell if your password was cracked?
Your password may have been cracked recently without even knowing it. There are a few tell tale signs that your accounts have been hacked. For instance, some of your contacts will complain that they have been receiving spam messages from you, you start receiving failed send receipts, the login location of your account does not match your recently visited locations, or messages appear in your sent folder that you did not send. If you experience any of these warning signs or suspect something is off with any of your accounts, change your password immediately!
Occasionally your Internet Service Provider, email service provider, or social media account advisor will send you a notification of recent hacking issues and urge you to change your password immediately. When this happens, first check the email address you received the message from and make sure it’s actually from your service provider and not a phishing account impersonating a trusted company. If the email is genuine, make sure you change your password first and then login to check for any recent fraudulent activity in your account.
Read more about: The best ways to protect yourself from phishing emails
If you’ve experienced any of your accounts being hacked, you may feel violated and angry. A useful way to channel that anger is by implementing better security practices moving forward.
Make your passwords harder to crack with WOT
After finding out how quick it can take someone to crack your password, you’ll likely want to make a stronger one for all of your accounts. Bear in mind that creating a strong password is a start, however changing your password frequently is a standard practice you should follow to ensure password security. There are also password management tools that ensure your accounts are being protected and immediately alert you if there are signs of a data breach. Web of Trust (WOT) is a very reliable and useful tool to ensure online security and protection of your device and accounts. You can download WOT onto your computer via the extension or onto your mobile device via an app.
WOT has a password monitoring feature that ensures account and password protection and security. Every 24 hours WOT scans your personal devices for any signs of data breaches or password leaks of your email address and account. If any data breaches are detected, you will be immediately alerted about where the breach occurred and the necessary steps you need to take in order to resecure your account and password. WOT offers support on how to avoid future breaches such as security tools for strong passwords or alerting you about unsafe websites you visit that could potentially put your device and personal information at risk. WOT also offers a safe browsing feature that auto-scans all your devices for potential threatening and dangerous breaches so that you can catch risky behavior before it catches you.
There’s no avoiding the internet, it is a part of our everyday life. And while it brings a lot of benefits, learning, and entertainment, it also can bring threatening and dangerous violations of privacy. Password cracking is a very common way for cybercriminals to violate your privacy and steal your information. Thus, password protection and security is critical as it serves as the first line of defense for online safety against cybercriminals. Fortunately, lots of information, research, and tools are available to keep yourself protected online. Stop asking yourself “how long will my password take to crack”, instead start partaking in password security practices. Take advantage of safety practices that protect you from having your password cracked and information leaked such as password monitoring tools like WOT. Eliminate the risk and practice password security today!
How do I create a strong and secure password?
You can practice many tips to have a strong and secure password. For example, use a minimum of 12 characters, update and change your password often, use password monitoring tools such as Web Of Trust (WOT), use multiple character types, and much more!
How long would it take to crack my password?
Depending on the length and complexity of password, it could take milliseconds to centuries to crack your password. 8-character passwords take a few hours to crack, 9-character passwords take about a week to crack, 10-character passwords take months to crack, and 11-character passwords take about a decade to crack.
How can I make my password harder to crack?
You can make your password harder to crack by adding more characters, using different character types, having different passwords for each account, using password monitoring tools like WOT, avoiding using pet names and significant dates, etc..
How can you tell if your password has been cracked?
There are various ways to tell if your password has been cracked. For example, you start receiving failed send receipts, the login location of your account isn’t accurate to the locations you’ve visited, or messages appear in your sent folder that you did not send.