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

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.


Recent News

Social media can be a huge force for change, and in these times where many of us are bouncing in and out of lockdowns, also a vital lifeline for communication on everything from important matters to the wildly trivial. We’re all allowed our personal obsessions, after all. However, many of us don’t think about the

Microsoft recently released its first public-facing beta version of the Windows 11 operating system that it will ship later this year. You’ve got to be signed up to its Windows Insider program to get it – and be willing to accept a little risk in terms of unstable operating systems – but then this is

Telstra recently announced that its 5G coverage for its mobile phone network covers around 75% of the Australian population. It’s also announced the “longest” (as in range) 5G phone call in the world, spanning some 113km in Gippsland. Meanwhile, rival telco Optus has claimed that it’s hit 300mbps upstream on trials of its emerging mmWave

Microsoft recently announced its next generation of the Windows operating system, Windows 11. If you’re thinking that seems odd given it did announce some years back that Windows 10 would be the “final” version of Windows, you’re not alone. For many years now, Microsoft’s simply provided Windows 10 updates rather than “new” versions of Windows,

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Update

Learn about the precautions we are taking and our new contactless pick-up and remote service options. Read More
Get help setting up your home office or homework area today. Learn More