Create stronger passwords

Create stronger passwords

Here’s how to make your personal data harder to hack

by Joe Kissell,

An attacker who wants to break into one of your accounts manually might first try likely passwords such as your pet’s name, your anniversary, or other terms that are significant to you. If that doesn’t produce results quickly, a hacker might turn to a program that rapidly tries each of the thousands or even millions of words in a big list—a procedure known as a dictionary attack. Some dictionary attacks are quite clever, checking not only common English terms but also foreign words, common misspellings, words in which letters have been replaced by numbers or symbols (such as @ppl3 for Apple), and easy-to-type sequences of characters, such as poiuytre.

If that doesn’t work, and if someone has the time and motivation, the next step would be a brute-force attack. In this type of attack, a computer program tries every possible combination of characters until the password is found, although current technology puts practical limits on the extent of such attacks.

When you create a new password, the trick is to come up with something that a dictionary attack could never discover, and to make the password long enough and complex enough that even a brute-force attack couldn’t succeed because it would require too much time and processing power. Here’s how:

via Create stronger passwords | Business Center | Working Mac | Macworld.

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