PC – SOS

An Internet Security Blog

Passwords are getting easier to crack

Posted by Bob Zenith on August 16, 2010

New research shows that passwords that are 8 digits or less are inadequate and very easy to crack; a 12-digit password is the new minimum.

“Eight-character passwords are inadequate now … If eight characters is all you use, and if you restrict your characters to only alphabetic letters, it can be cracked in minutes,” said Richard Boyd, a senior researcher at GTRI.

Unfortunately, even a password of 12 random characters may soon become too weak to provide adequate protection. Computers will soon reach the power needed to crack 12 character random passwords, and certain kinds of computer viruses that monitors data directly from the keyboard can break a password of any size and complexity.

“If you have a Trojan that records keystrokes, you’re screwed,” Davis said.
Not if you use KeyScrambler Personal (add-on for Firefox). It will provide an additional layer of protection.

Each passing day, month, and year provides more powerful software to hackers. It used to be that a 6 digit password is adequate. Now, 8 digits are inadequate, and 12 is recommended. Within a year or too, even 12 digit passwords will need to be lengthened. Here’s a guide to making a strong password:
1. Think of a sentence that you live by or agree with. It can be anything from “My favorite video game is Halo 3” to “Internet security grows more complex every day” – as long as it is 6+ words and you remember it, you can use it.
2. Take the first letter from each of the words in the sentence (for this purpose, I will use the sentence “My favorite video game is Halo 3”): MFVGIH3
3. Vary each of the letters from upper to lower case: MfVgIh3
4. Change any letters that look like numbers to numbers (e.g. “I” looks like “1” ): MfVg1h3
5. Add 2 asterisks before and after your password, and enter / close it with a symbol of your choice (perhaps “[” and “]” ): **[MfVg1h3]**
6. You’re done – your password now has at least 13 seemingly random characters, but you should be able to remember it easily due to your sentence!
*Note: the longer your original sentence, the more characters the password will be, therefore the more difficult it will be to crack*

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One Response to “Passwords are getting easier to crack”

  1. Spudz said

    Nice post Bob, thanks 😀

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