Watching Your Wallet: Secure Password Strength

Memorizing your password can be a chore, but online safety experts say your password needs to be complicated.
Published: Jun. 26, 2023 at 3:50 PM CDT
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BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - Memorizing your password can be a chore, especially if it contains letters, numbers, and symbols but online safety experts say your password needs to be complicated.

It’s good practice to change your passwords to your most important accounts pretty often, but now, it’s more important than ever, with the most recent data breach impacting agencies like the Louisiana Office of Motor Vehicles.

When computers get faster and more powerful, they’re not just helping you. They’re helping hackers, too.

You probably get irritated when you get that reminder to change your computer password again but a simple password you use for all your accounts and log-ins across internet sites is basically worthless.

A cyber security firm called Hive Systems keeps up with changing technology, and what it means for your security. The company has only been comparing computer hardware for a few years, but the speed at which someone can now crack your password is pretty impressive and scary.

Here are some examples of when it used the fastest processor from 2018:

  • 4-character passwords - numbers, upper and lower case letters, and symbols - could be cracked instantly
  • 6-character passwords took just five seconds to crack
  • A 12-character password would take 34,000 years to crack.

Now, skip forward a few generations of computer processors and get to today’s computer, which is capable of generating chat GPT information, and you can see just how vulnerable your ‘new-and-improved’ passwords are.

  • 4-character passwords are instantly hackable
  • 8-characters took one second to hack
  • And that 12-character password you reluctantly changed to can now be cracked in eight months

If you want good security for a while, an 18-character password would take 79 billion years to hack right now.

The bottom line here is if you still use a six-letter password and you use it for multiple sites, you really don’t have any security at all. So, use this as a push to strengthen it.

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