Passwords. We seeming have one for nearly everything these days. Your computer login, email, streaming services, unlocking your phone, online banking, paying bills. Doing all of those things online takes a password. Some of you out there reading this now aren’t using secure enough passwords. Yes, I’m talking to you Mr. ‘my passcode is 1,2,3,4’. But there are also many of you out there who believe you are being secure enough, and you actually aren’t.
Hive Systems, a cyber security firm, recently did a study on how long it would take a hacker to crack any password. They found that there are four things that affect how secure your password ends up being.
- How long is it?
- Are the letters uppercase AND lowercase?
- Are there numbers?
- Are there special characters, such as an exclamation point?
Taking those four factors into account, here is what the study found. Any password that is six characters or less can be cracked immediately. If your password is all lowercase letters, anything less than nine letters can be cracked right away. A password gets much more secure after 14 characters, and DO NOT use all numbers.
If you use uppercase and lowercase letters, your password still needs to be 12 characters to be somewhat secure. At ten characters, your password can be cracked in 3 days. 11 characters takes 5 months. 12 characters could take up to 24 years to crack. Even by adding special characters and numbers, make sure your password is longer than 11 characters.
If you want to be REALLY safe, the study suggests going even longer. A password that is 18 characters long and includes all the things we’ve mentioned, would take 438 trillion years to crack. I think you’re safe.
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