Your Password is Your Weakest Link
Creating a strong password has never been more important. We have an article all about why website security and strong passwords are so important.
Hackers are sophisticated in their methods and a simple lowercase password of 7 or 8 characters with 2 numbers at the end will take less than a second to break. Their sophistication has improved significantly over the last 6 months and what was once a secure or at least strong password no longer is.
Websites Hacked 2018
FaceBook is probably one of the biggest websites hacked this year. At least 87 million records were breached (though likely many more), this was disclosed: March 17, 2018.
Numerous other websites have been hacked too but what does this mean for you?
When a website is hacked and passwords / hash values obtained this information goes into a database called “Rainbow Tables”.
Rainbow Tables are basically huge sets of precomputed tables filled with hash values that are pre-matched to possible plain text passwords. The Rainbow Tables essentially allow hackers to reverse the hashing function to determine what the plain text password might be.
For this reason you need to think carefully about creating your password as if it’s been used before on a hacked website it will probably be in a rainbow table.
This is one of the first things a hacker will do to obtain your password and with over 50 billion checks per second it doesn’t take too long to do!
You’d be amazed at the similarity of passwords used across the globe and how many of these have already been hacked.
The big advantage of password managers is that you can easily create a secure and long password that is unique for all your accounts. In other words it allows you to create a seperate password for all your log ins and be able to remember them. Actually you don’t have to as the password manager does that for you.
Last Pass (https://www.lastpass.com/) is FREE and offers a lot that is normally only available in paid versions. Just make sure your master password is at least 20 characters long!
Last Pass can also check your password for weak or previously compromised passwords which is of enormous benefit to.
You password manager must be able to work on all your devices, phone, tablet and desktop computer.
There are plenty of others out there too so do your own research and read the reviews carefully before making a decision.
Creating a Strong Password Manually
I’d recommend making sure all your passwords are unique, that’s the first step.
I’d also recommend using as many characters as possible, 20 is a good start. The reason for this is that hackers find it too resource intensive and long winded to crack passwords with many characters. If your password contains around 8 characters it won’t be a challenge for a hacker using sophisticated algorithms.
Using phrases such as coffeeisbetterwithoutmilk and then adding in some special characters, numbers and uppercase letters is a great way to make your password is a challenge to any hacker and at the same time making it long enough to survive a hacking attempt.
Remember that if your password is stored on your computer in a plain text file it becomes vulnerable. This is why I prefer to use a password manager that can be used across all my devices.
Which Passwords are Important?
I’ve made a list below which isn’t mean’t to be all inclusive but deals with the main areas you need to look at.
- Email – important as your email may contain methods of logging into other accounts.
- Website log in details – not just your own but any shops you have an account with
- Banks and building societies
- Social media
- Your computer
Need to Chat?
We hope you found this useful and if you have any questions we’d be happy to talk to you. You can call Peter or Anthony on 01824 702375.