What Makes Your Passwords Really Hard to Hack?

For many of us, passwords are the bane of our use of the internet. The requirements for passwords make it nearly impossible to remember them. The experts recommend that we never use the same password on more than one online account to prevent someone from possible gaining access to everything. So what’s the answer?

A picture of a hooded figure typing on a laptop in a darkened room with binary data (1's and 0's) superimosed over the entire image.First, we should better understand what makes a password more secure and difficult to hack. Steve Gibson of Gibson Research Corporation has some very good information on this topic. While any password can be hacked, some will take longer that others. In fact, some would take even the fastest computer more time than any of us would ever live. Steve explains this in a way that really reveals what makes this possible though the use of GRC’s Interactive Brute Force Password “Search Space” Calculator. The Calculator let’s you experiment with password length and composition to get an accurate and quantified sense for the safety of using passwords that can only be found through exhaustive search. It actually calculates how long it would take a hacker to conduct that is called a “brute force” attack by using a computer to try every possible combination of characters to guess your password. It’s like looking for a needle in a haystack. The key is to make it as hard as possible to find the needle in the haystack by making your haystack really big. That translates into making your password long. As Gibson explains, password length is more important the complexity.

Picuture of a hand using teezers to pick a password out of wall full of binary data.Take a few minutes to play (experiment) with Brute Force Password “Search Space” Calculator. Be sure to read all the info Gibson provides for an in-depth understanding. It’s enlightening and very useful. The better informed we are the better off we’ll be.

The question then becomes, how should you keep track of all your long passwords for online accounts? I’ve been using a program called Roboform for years. But there are many other quality programs and I encourage to do your research to determine which one will suit you the best. Use this search to help get started.