Millions of people could be using very simple passwords that can be cracked in under three seconds. It’s a worrying statistic but some simple changes could make the lives of hackers so much harder. A new report from payment firm Dojo says that the most easily hackable passwords contain all lowercase letters and are less than 8 characters long. Numbers without any additional letters or symbols added is also a really bad idea.
As an example, passwords like purple, letmein or 202201 could all be hacked in under two seconds but add some capital letters and numbers and things get a lot tougher.
According to Dojo, the password Wednesday1 would take over 2,000 seconds to crack – so it’s easy to see how such a small change can make a big difference.
Dojo says that its study found that over 1.5 million passwords were eight characters or less with terms of endearment being the most common password category.
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Another huge error made by millions of us is using the same codes for both work and home accounts. This makes the chance of being attacked much more likely as a hacker can gain access to your work codes and then easily target personal accounts.
“With 51% of people using the same passwords for both work and personal accounts, it’s common for people to repeat password patterns that are easy to remember. But the study found that 365,174 passwords feature all lowercase letters and an average password length of eight characters,” Dojo explained.
“When using this password pattern hackers can access your data easily, as the number of combinations they need to try is lower. If you are using all lowercase letters for your passwords, it would take hackers just three seconds to guess.”
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So how can you make sure you don’t become the next victim of cyber crime? It’s a good idea to come up with codes that are a minimum of 8-12 characters long.
Then mix things up by adding special characters (such as @_!& etc), numbers, and capital letters. For example, Expre33_2@23! is clearly far harder to crack than just using the word express.
It’s also a good idea to set up MFA (multi-factor authentication), these are available on most apps and accounts that require a password.
With MFA sorted, you’ll get a multi-step account login process that requires you to enter more information than just a password. For example, you might be asked to enter a code sent to your email account, have to answer a secret question, or scan a fingerprint on your smartphone.
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