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How tough are your passwords?

10 April 2017

It takes less than a second to break a weak or commonly-used password. How long would it take to break yours?

While there are other, stronger ways to stop unauthorized people from accessing your confidential information (such as by using two-factor or multi-factor authentication), many systems still rely heavily on passwords for protection.

Passwords really are the ‘keys to the kingdom’ for attackers, and if they fall into the wrong hands, the consequences for your accounts, your finances, and even your identity can be grim (particularly if you use the same password across multiple systems – break one and you’ve broken them all).

But, the protection offered by a password is only as good as how hard that password is for an attacker to guess. So, in order to use passwords effectively and protect yourself online, you must make them hard to guess – that is, you must make them strong.

Attackers use automated tools like computer programs in order to break the protection offered by passwords. This method of attack is known as brute force – and it’s where attackers use ‘password dictionaries’ or long lists of the most commonly-used passwords and character combinations against a password in order to guess it and break into a system.

Using these tools, the shortest and most commonly used passwords can be guessed in under a second. The longer, more complex and uncommon a password is, the more time it will take, even with powerful automated tools, to break.

Protect yourself now – choose a strong password

Using a strong password really does offer a much greater level of protection and dramatically increases the amount of time and effort an attacker has to use to break it.

The best way to make your password strong and less likely to be guessed is to make it longer, make it random and to use combinations of upper case and lower case letters, numbers and special characters.  Find more tips on how to create strong passwords that will help protect you online and also provide suggestions as to how you can remember them.