We have come to the time and age when no one should ignore the problem of password safety and cybersecurity. The question to that is not a why, but a why not. Considering the thousands and millions of hacks that are happening on a daily basis, it becomes important that everyone gets on the page of password safety.
Sadly, we can only fight against what we know. That is why we have unearthed and compiled some of the common methods of password hacking that are probably being used against you as we speak.
That is not to scare you, but to prepare you for what could be coming. Without much ado:
1. Dictionary Attack
Do you feel safe with passwords that are made up of words strung together in sentences? Maybe the words are not even in any order, but they are as long as can be.
If you were dealing with a hacker who was manually trying out what your password could be, that could get the best of them. When it comes down to a dictionary attack, though, there is simply nowhere for you to hide.
What these attacks do is employ a dictionary file (which obviously contains all the possible words in any language that password is set in) and then run it with an algorithm. This algorithm tries all possible combination of single words, multiple words, phrases, and sentences till it finds out your password.
The interesting thing is that it will always work, no matter the length of that passphrase. Longer passphrases might mean slower hacking times, but it will happen. When the dictionary attack is not used, it has a twin called the…
2. Hybrid Attack
Hackers know that you are trying to outsmart them by substituting some of the alphabet characters for symbols and numbers instead. This is the kind of thing that happens when a user sets their login code to something like ‘P@ssw0rd’ – using what would have been a dictionary word, but swapping out some essentials.
Well, hybrid attacks are the answers to that.
They build on the dictionary attack by including numbers and symbols, then they look to see in what combinations you have ordered your strong password.
3. Phishing Attacks
We cannot go through this list and not reference the hack that is responsible for some stunning 90% and more of all account breaches today. One would think they would have been found out since they are so common, but it is just too easy to fool unsuspecting users with these attacks.
They usually start up with a hacker sending an email to their target while posing as a legitimate organization. The hacker usually impersonates a service (website, app, bank, etc.) that the user is familiar with in making this look as unsuspicious as possible.
Within the email will be contained a link to the said service. The only issue here is that such links only lead to a lookalike platform, not the one it is supposed to be.
Once such a user enters their login details on the platform, the hacker gets everything in real-time. Such a hacker can then use that information to login to the victim’s real account. The attack is just as brilliant as it is deadly.
4. Malware Attacks
Today is not the time to point fingers, but this is one of those attacks that users bring upon themselves.
When developing apps and programs, hackers can place some malicious lines of codes in them. These lines of codes will lie dormant in the app and wait for activation – usually being triggered by the installation of such apps on your devices.
From there, a series of things could happen.
Depending on the kind of malware we are dealing with, the hackers could:
- Take over your computer and files, demanding a ransom to free them up (ransomware)
- Gently record your keystrokes and keypresses in such a way that allows them to find out your password to certain accounts you use (keylogger)
- Destroy the files on your computer completely, sometimes harvesting them to their own servers first (virus), and so much more.
Beating the Hackers at their Own Game
No matter how you look at it, these hackers should be given plus points for effort. They are surely going through a lot just to get their hands on your passwords – and the above is just some of their many tactics.
If you have been thinking there was no way you could defend against all the above, you are wrong. With the simple tips below, you can make sure your passwords become untouchable:
- Never use the same passwords for more than one account
- Try out a password generating software to come up with your passwords. That makes your password less predictable and highly uncrackable
- Get a password manager to store all your passwords. That way, you never have to worry about memorizing a password
- Desist from sideloading apps and programs onto your devices. Stick to downloading verified apps from the dedicated app store of your unit – be it Windows, iOS, Android or any other operating system out there.
- Don’t share your passwords with others
- Download an antivirus software capable of scanning email files and links. On your own part, don’t click on the link in emails. Enter the links manually in your browser
There is no better time to get started with better password habits than now. The hackers are not resting on their game, and you shouldn’t either.
Now that you know how they are going about fishing out your passwords from the deepest places they must be stored in, wouldn’t you rather get better protected?
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