Cyber Attacks: Learn How To Choose A Complex Password

Cyber Attacks: Learn How To Choose A Complex Password

We all read about the cyber-attack that affected government organisations and private businesses across Europe, with Maersk the biggest company hit. Major cyber security breaches have been linked to the use of common passwords. The reason has been that the password we use is by far the weakest link in cybersecurity today, and this leaves us vulnerable to a cyber attack.

Many of us have witnessed heavy cyber terrorism that caused a big trouble across the world. Who remembers that time that hackers got access to cloud services and stole pictures and emails of many top celebrities in the world like Rihanna? This information which was supposed to be personal by the owners was subsequently released in the open, and this caused a lot of irreparable damages to the owners.  

Some passwords are been used and reused by many people without them knowing. These passwords are easy to guess for attackers as it is their most valuable treasure. Maybe it is due to laziness or fear of forgetfulness; many of us use the same password on many accounts. We use the same password for Facebook, email accounts, ATM pins, and so on. I am guilty of this myself as I have had many occasions where I forgot the passwords for new online accounts because I tried a new one, hence, I stick to the same password on all my accounts. But this is bad because it is hard for defence against cyber attacks. See the 25 most used passwords below - you should avoid them:

Cyber Attacks: Learn How To Choose A Complex Password, Most commonly used passwords

This blog post was created out of my desire for all of us to learn how to prevent against cyber attacks. I hope this post will serve as cyber security tips. See how to prevent your phones from hackers here.

How To Secure Your Passwords? Choose High Entropy Passwords

The very first thing that comes to mind when we think of securing our data online is passwords. Online merchants, online banking, passwords to secure other passwords all require we memorise a password, even to unlock our devices. There is a big mighty war between security firms and hackers around the world to stay of one another on password selection.

Choosing a high-entropy password means opting for complex passwords, and this can be difficult for many of us. We can’t deny that choosing simple passwords is bad. There are now a certain set of rules that can help users select the best possible choices, and this will be discussed below. Read on…

Cyber Attacks: Learn How To Choose A Complex Password

Rules For Picking Strong Passwords In 2017

1. You should not only choose lengthy passwords, consider quality too. The password “rrrriiiihhhhaaaannnnaaaa” is long but not complex. Hackers are now enabled with password guessing algorithms that look for patterns and this is capable of seeking a password like this in a relatively short order and time.

2. Do not use words exclusively. Making use of full words make it easy for computers to guess because a high-end password cracker can go through the whole English dictionary including short phrases, capitalization and lists of proper names in less than 20 minutes.

3. Password crackers can guess common letter substitutions. They use common number and symbol substitutions to try to guess passwords. Terms like ‘P4$$w0rd, Mvmmv’ is not safe, nor any other simple word with common substitutions.

4. Do not choose common phrases from TV, radio, movies, and literature. Passwords that “Youcan’tseeme” which is the WWE star, John Cena’s slogan is going to be found in short order.

5. Do not allow others to select passwords for you with apps or algorithms. There can be weaknesses and patterns that are not visible to the naked eye.

6. Be mindful of Investigative-Based attacks. In this new age of social media, the general public has unique access to information that could lead hackers to your password. Your attacker may know everything about your hobbies, your musical or reading preferences, the city you live in, and your pet names. Read more on the things you should never put on your social media accounts like Facebook.

7. Be wary of human behaviour based heuristic attacks. Many sites require a capital letter, number and a symbol in the password. Attackers understand human behaviour and password crackers will emulate the behaviour of a site’s password requirements. It could guess that you’re going to put those things at the beginning or the end of the password to meet those requirements. Knowing this, “Template1!” is no more secure than “template” to a hacker.

8. Do not reuse passwords. A reused password is as worse as a weak password. When companies or organisations that keep sensitive your data and passwords secure mess up with their security, you are exposed. When a cyber attack occurs, you have to make sure that the damage is only isolated to one company and not everything you use. Do not reuse passwords, especially for sensitive data.

How To Prevent Cyber Security Attacks By Choosing Strong Passwords

Now that you have been briefed on the cracking techniques of attackers, what is the best possible way to create hard to crack passwords?

Experts advise taking a sentence that means something to you, spicing it up, till it becomes a very hard to guess password.

“My cousin who lives in Africa eats snake meat 10 times a week at home” is easy to memorise for users, and hard for attackers.

You can also take the first letter of every word, and the number, and insert some symbols to make a very difficult password.

“Mcwl!Aesm10aw@h!” is hard to anyone but you. This is a very high entropy password. To crack this, attackers may spend many dedicated years.

You can lengthen the password even further by incorporating more phrases or simply made up rules. You can add a dollar sign after every capital letter. This gives us “M@cw!A@esm10aw@h!.”This makes it unbelievably hard to guess, while it is easy to remember for yourself if you came up with the phrases. 

Questions people may want to ask about passwords are:

1. Should I Change My Password Frequently?

Changing passwords regularly does not guarantee security. The key is to choose a complex password and keep it a secret. Having to frequently change passwords may require that you write it down somewhere insecure which is another problem.

2. Should I Use A Password Manager?

Password managers are cool tools that let you store passwords for many sites and services all in one place. But this is no way a secure channel as your master password could be cracked and will allow full access to all your information. Use password managers that you trust will keep your master password secure, and has no access to your passwords without your master password being entered.

In conclusion, choosing a strong complex password is one way to defend against cyber attacks.


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