Most people how many techniques hackers have created to break through your passwords and get into your accounts. Everyday, the number of these techniques grow and evolve to get around our security measures. You need to keep yourself up to date with the best security to keep yourself safe. In this guide you'll learn the most common password attacks and how you can combat them.
Brute Force Attacks
One of the most common ways hackers break through passwords is with Brute Force. This is the easiest way to hack someone’s password, so you should definitely be protected against it.
Brute Force uses a computer program to login to someone’s account with lots of different common combinations. They start with the most common passwords, such as password123.
They can also use this method to guess usernames, so if a hacker gains list of your employee list this may be dangerous (as they’re usually easy to guess).
A Dictionary Attack uses a program which cycles through the most common words in the English dictionary to see if they get a match.
Brute Force goes by letter by letter whereas Dictionary Attacks only choose words likely to be correct. They’re harder to perform than Brute Force, but are often quite successful.
A Dictionary Attack will proceed to add numbers and letters to replace certain characters in these common words. This in an attempt to catch someone out who is using short, simple words and easy to guess substitutes, such as the number three instead of the letter ‘e’.
Now, almost everyone in business has heard this name mentioned in one context or another. Phishing is still an extremely dangerous way hackers can gather our details. Even credit card information can be collected this way.
Phishing is where a hacker sends a message to you (through email, text etc.) pretending to be a well known and trusted organisation. The email will often include a link to click with an incentive, such as ‘someone has access to your account! Click here to change your password!’.
How to protect yourself
Although there are many, many ways hackers can get to us these days, there are also many ways we can stay secure. Here is how:
2 Factor Authentication
2 factor authentication is a relatively new thing that has come to most big platforms as of recent. Twitter, Facebook, Instagram all have this implemented as a way to keep their users more secure than ever.
2 factor authentication works by making you confirm your identity using a different device, such as your phone number for a code or a special authentication app.
This way, if someone tries to access your account, they can’t get in without the extra information. Plus, this means you will be notified of the breach and you can then change your password.
Different password for every account
This might sound simple, but the majority of people still do this and suffer the consequences.
For every account you make the password should be different. This makes it hard to know which to use for which account, so make sure you keep a note in multiple places of your passwords, not just on your phone. If you lose your phone and all its notes, they will be lost.
Make it complicated
Your password will never be as secure as it should be if you’re using one capital letter and one number around a word. You need to make it harder to guess.
This means replacing letters with numbers and special characters, such as:!,£,@,&. This also means to use a variety of upper and lowercase letters throughout the password, not just as the start.
Also, don’t use simple and easy to guess letter replacements, for example: a ‘3’ instead of an ‘e’ and an ‘8’ for a ‘b’. Be creative.
Using random words
If you didn’t want you password full of special characters, use the random word method.
To do this, choose three or four totally unrelated words and merge them together. You HAVE to make sure these words aren’t common, especially when used together.
A word combo such as ‘dog on a log’ would be awful. Something unpredictable like ‘RavenMicroscopeEmeraldTofu7’ would be more like it. Make sure you always still involve upper and lowercase letters, and some numbers.
A password generator
Using a password generator is a sound way to get a completely randomised passwords that involved numbers, lower and upper case letters and special characters.
There are many different generators for your needs and ones where you can place a filter in. For example, if you needed an 8 letter long password or a 12 letter long, or a specific amount of numbers.
Search around for the most trusted ones and generate away! (Make sure you keep note of them however as they’re usually quite complicated and probably can’t be remembered purely from memory).