How your passwords are hacked and ways to protect them

Passwords are used for many computers and online accounts these days. It’s best to have a strong password so your information is kept safe from those seeking to steal your identity, banking information, and sanity.

The most common reason passwords are hacked is because they’re not strong enough or because you’ve used a common word that’s easily identifiable. Read on to learn how passwords are stolen and what you can do to prevent it.

1. Automation software

In 2012, a 25-GPU cluster was created that could crack every standard Windows desktop password in less than 6 hours with 350 billion guesses per second. That was eight years ago, technology has advanced much more since then.

Online systems can guess your password as well, but many sites thankfully have antivirus applications in place to detect password automation software. Nonetheless, it’s still smart to have a strong password in place to keep outside users from accessing personal information.

RELATED: 7 tips on how to create passwords that won’t be hacked

2. Phishing

in a survey, 71% of Gen-Z respondents believe they wouldn’t fall for a phishing scam even though only 44% know what “phishing” means¹.

Phishing scams are emails, websites, or links that encourage you to share information or purchase goods with the intent of stealing from you. Messages with headlines like “URGENT REQUEST!” are usually phishing scams. Avoid these all together and delete immediately if you think they’re “fishy.”

3. Bought off the dark web

If someone has breached your email, username, or password, it’s likely they’ll sell it on the dark web. Once the buyer has your personal information, then they may try…

4. Credential stuffing

If your username and passwords are bought off of the dark web, some hacker will try your credentials on multiple sites to search for a match and login. Hey, if the login works on Facebook, it may work on Twitter, Instagram, and TikTok too.

RELATED: Working from home? Here are 9 cybersecurity tips for you

5. Extortion

Someone online forces you to give them your password. They use fear to convince you to hand over your usernames and passwords. The elderly are the most common targets for this type of password scam.

6. They’re guessed

This is the harder option, but some hackers simply guess your password. These are the most common passwords:

  • 12345
  • 123456789
  • qwerty
  • password
  • 111111
  • 12345678
  • abc123
  • 1234567

Avoid these if you want to keep your information safe from hackers and scammers.

Remember these important password tips:

  • Use best practices to keep your passwords safe.
  • Don’t make it easy to guess your password.
  • Avoid logging in on public wifi networks so your username and password cannot be intercepted.
  • Use two-factor authentication as often as you can.
  • Don’t give out your password to anyone online, in text, or in email.
  • Protect your email address from phishing scams (check it on Avast.com/hackcheck)

Grey Wolf Security specializes in Security Operations, Security Compliance, and Security Engineering. Our professionals have experience within the Department of Defense, Department of Homeland Security, Federal Law Enforcement, Intelligence Community and Commercial organizations. Contact us and let’s collect your digital evidence today.


¹ https://dataprot.net/statistics/password-statistics/

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