Many times the only thing protecting your identity and personal information on the internet is a password. Hackers employ many techniques to try to acquire your password such as using brute-force attacks, in which they utilize a dictionary of words and try each word consecutively to access your account, or even social engineering attacks, in which hackers attempt to trick you into to giving up your username and password voluntarily. This is a list containing the top ten most hacked passwords. We also provide some tips and ideas on how to chose a more secure password, as well as, how to be more conscientious and try to avoid social engineering attacks.
From this list there are definitely some lessons to be learned. First and foremost don’t use simple combinations of letters or number in either ascending or descending order. The demographic at the most risk for using simple, easy to hack passwords are 35 – 54 year-old individuals. Perhaps surprisingly, elderly as well as young individuals typically chose a more secure password. Many hackers also use a dictionary of words to attempt to break into user’s accounts.
To avoid being a victim of this hacking ploy, security experts recommend choosing a password that is not a real word or any combination of real words.
Another alternative is to substitute a symbol for one of the letters in a real word. For example using ‘c@t’ as part of your password is much more secure than using ‘cat.’ To make your password easier to remember, experts also suggest putting ‘padding’ between the words in your password if you are going to use words. This ‘padding’ can be made up of any combination of non-repeating numbers or symbols. Also it is generally a good idea to pick a password that is at least 8 characters long, preferably longer. The longer your password is, the more secure it will likely be. Just make sure it is something that you can still remember if you opt to use a really long password.
Yet another good technique for choosing a password is to come up with an easy to remember phrase and use all the first letters of each word in the phrase as your password while substituting in symbols and numbers when possible. As an example, “I don’t know what to choose as my password,” would result in idkwtcamp, which then could be complicated to result in !dkwtc4mp.
Unfortunately a lot of hackers employ social engineering techniques to gain access to a user’s password, which won’t help you no matter how secure your password is. One common techniques is to create a fake webpage that looks just like a real one to get you to attempt to login to your account and then they steal your username and password. Some of the best advice to preventing these type of attacks is to always check the address bar carefully in your web browser before entering any sort of sensitive information including your user name, password, email address, social security number, or any credit/debit card numbers. Also make sure the website is reputable and employs encryption when transferring personal information.
Source: Smart Planet