Geeks2U Promise
We guarantee you'll love our fast, friendly service - or we'll refund your money.  
133,572 Happy Customers & Counting
Need tech support?
1300 769 448
Extended hours, 7 days a week
Home  /  geekspeak  /  Longer passwords won’t save you from hackers

Longer passwords won’t save you from hackers

Hackers programmer using computer laptop for hack information

Strong passwords rely on complexity, not just length, so upgrading from “12345” to “12345678” won’t keep hackers at bay.

The mind-numbingly foolish “123456” has once again topped the list of most popular passwords, according to SplashData’s annual analysis of leaked passwords. The ever-popular “password” remains in second spot, while “12345” has lost third position to the far more fiendish “12345678”.

Not only does this tell us that some people continue to rely on stupid passwords, it also tells us that when they do heed the warnings about online security they upgrade to a new password that’s almost as stupid. Hackers rely on the fact that people are lazy – you’re not going to fool them with longer passwords like “1234567890”, “qwertyuiop” or the cunning “1qaz2wsx”.

A strong password relies on complexity – it needs to be both difficult for a person to guess and difficult for a computer to crack by brute force. Hacking tools work their way down the list of popular passwords like “123456” and then run through the dictionary, so even a great 20-letter word like “deoxyribonucleotides” probably won’t keep hackers out for long if they’re determined to break into your account.

People sometimes use weak passwords because they think they’ve got nothing to hide, but you’re actually putting your friends at risk by making it easy for hackers to impersonate you. Hackers know that your friends are more likely to fall for online scams, or click on infected links, if your friends think the message came from you rather than a stranger.

The best passwords are completely random, with a combination of upper and lowercase letters mixed with numbers and symbols. For example the 14-character “j@2Gpk%LS/9tS&” is a much stronger password than a longer dictionary word. Of course it’s tough to remember a truly random password, but it’s not hard to devise passwords which are easy to remember but look like gibberish to anyone else.

One useful trick is to start with a phrase or lyric that’s easy to remember and then grab the first letter from each word. A simple nursery rhyme like Old King Cole can form the basis of a long and complicated password like “OkCwAmOs%AaMoSwH*70”. Sing along in your head as you type in your password and you’ll never forget it.

You obviously need more than one password, so you might devise a series of passwords based on different lines of the nursery rhyme. It might seem a little childish, but not as childish as sticking with “123456” as your password.

FacebookTwitterGoogle+Share

Recent News

snapdragon

Ever since the computer market shifted from desktop PCs to laptops, there’s been a significant balancing act going on between the needs of computer users for processing power to run programs, and the needs of those same users for battery power to keep their laptops going. At a simplified level, the harder you push a… More 

Apple-Apple

For the longest time, the generally accepted knowledge was that Apple’s Mac computers didn’t get malware or viruses. Apple even went so far as to mock its PC opposition in the famous “Mac vs PC” ads for the issues they had around security and malware, to a fairly solid effect. While Apple’s Macs do still… More 

intel

Quite often these days when we hear about a major security flaw, it’s to do with the underlying software that we’re running on our PCs, whether it’s a dodgy browser exploit, some kind of flaw in productivity software or even “free” content sites that are awash with malware. It’s not quite so often that we… More 

kindle

I’ve recently spent some time checking out Amazon’s latest Kindle e-reader, the 2nd generation Kindle Oasis. It’s the “luxury” choice in Amazon’s e-reader lineup, with a luxury price to match and a few new features to try to lure in those who love reading above other pursuits. One of the key new features is the… More