Many web users assume that only expert hackers can crack their passwords. Contrary to that common misconception, most password cracking tools are available on the dark web, and any armature hacker can easily steal your password. If you want to safeguard yourself from such attacks, you should learn about the dangers of password hacks and secure your account the best way you can. In this guide, we highlight the common password cracking strategies and how you can prevent them.
Hackers often roll dictionary attacks first. It’s the easiest password cracking technique that uses every word found in a dictionary. A computer program runs through all the words in a dictionary until the correct match is found. Hackers can process millions of words in a matter of minutes. As long as you use dictionary words in your password, it will be a matter of time before hackers get hold of your password.
Many web users believe that they can effectively secure their passwords by replacing letters with numbers or special characters. Unfortunately, hybrid attacks look through such sneaky ideas. A hybrid attack basically uses a combination of dictionary words and numbers preceding or following them. Passwords that use a dictionary word followed by a series of numbers, for example, “Rice2019” can be easily cracked through a hybrid attack.
Rainbow Table Attack
A number of modern systems store passwords in a computer-generated numerical representation of digits, letters, and special characters, known as a hash. If a hacker gains access to a file with hashed passwords, they won’t be able to read them. However, hashes can be cracked by employing a table for reversing hash functions. That table is called a rainbow table.
Brute Force Attack
The brute force attack has nothing to do with being clever or subtle. The strategy's effectiveness and speed depend more on the computational power of the hacker. This attack utilizes every possible alpha-numeric combination, meaning that no password is totally safe. However, it takes a lot of time and resources, making it a preserve for professional hackers.
Hackers can also use other strategies other than password cracking software. The man-in-the-middle attack is a typical and moderately simple attack that focuses on clients on open Wi-Fi systems. Hotspots in hotels or cafes are regularly decoded, giving anybody on a similar system a chance to keep an eye on your perusing data. The name "man-in-the-middle" originates from the fact that a hacker taps the traffic between your gadget and the server. Because of this smart move, the attacker can see each page you visit, messages you send, and login qualifications you input. On the off chance that you do your web-based shopping on an untrustworthy Wi-Fi network, your credit card information can be additionally stolen.
Through phishing, hackers can send you an email posing as a genuine institution or person you know and lure you into disclosing your sensitive information. In most cases, the email includes a link that redirects you to a website that is identical to the online banking platform you often visit. As you type in your login credentials, that information goes straight to the hacker.
Hackers can also plant a virus on your device and get your login information. It could be in the form of fake software with keyloggers to record everything you type or even take screenshots of your login process. Some hackers may also smuggle malicious software into your device in the form of fitness apps or mobile games.
How to Protect Yourself from Password Hacks
With hackers continuously trying all these techniques to crack your password, it can be overwhelming figuring out how to secure your password in this day and age. While it's not possible to protect your password 100% from hackers, protecting your account shouldn't be an intimidating hassle. Here are some tips to help you out:
Avoid Recycling Passwords
The worst mistake you can do is to use the same password on multiple accounts. When a hacker gets hold of your password, they will get a universal key to all your other accounts, which can be a security disaster. Hackers often sell leaked password combinations on the dark web at just a few dollars. It's based on the assumption that a single password can be used to access multiple accounts, including your credit card details.
Utilize a Password Generator
Be sure to create a strong password that can only be cracked using a brute force attack. So, you must ditch all dictionary passwords and use completely random passwords. However, it can be difficult to manually generate a random password. The good news is that you can use an online password generator to generate strong, random passwords and store them securely.
Use a Password Manager
Unique, random passwords are often difficult to remember, especially when you have to create a different one for every account. You need a password manager to keep your passwords and other sensitive data secure. You will only need to remember one master password to unlock all your other login credentials.
Activate Two-factor Authentication
Since even the strongest passwords can still be hacked through phishing or man-in-the-middle attacks, it's important to turn on two-factor authentication. It's an extra layer of protection that combines your password with your phone or security key. Using a physical security key or an authentication app is recommended over SMS authentication.
Turn on VPN on Public Wi-Fi
Public hotspots are never safe for your sensitive data. Always use a VPN whenever you connect to open hotspots. VPNs will encrypt your internet traffic and safeguard your data even when connected to a public Wi-Fi network.
Passwords are still the most common security measure for online accounts. Your only option, for now, is to find a more secure way to maximize the effectiveness of your passwords. Since hackers constantly come up with new tricks to steal passwords, you need to regularly educate yourself on the latest threats and upgrade your defense mechanism accordingly.
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