Identity theft. I cringe just thinking about the word and thinking about all the headaches that would arise if someone ever stole your identity. You may think you won’t ever find yourself in this situation, but you truly never know.
We all have a variety of passwords we use, but how secure are our passwords really?
Here are some techniques that hackers use to hack into your personal accounts as well as ideas of how to strengthen your password.
The Dictionary Attack: Suppose you could figure out a person’s password by entering every single word in the dictionary. That is exactly how the dictionary attack works. These assaults are sometimes called brute force attacks.
Hackers count on people using simple passwords. Using this type of software, a hacker can sit back and let the program do all of the dirty work. These programs only work on sites that do not require users to choose alpha-numeric passwords or special characters (!, &, *, etc.).
What should you do if a site does not have a stringent password requirement policy? Suppose you can get by with simply entering any eight-letter word? Should you pick a common word? The answer, of course, is no.
You can still stop a hacker by using a word that is not commonly found in the dictionary. Or go ahead and make up a word. Regardless of the site’s requirements, I almost always make up words when creating passwords.
The Hybrid Attack: Hackers are always trying to stay one step ahead of the game. They have no intention of letting a little thing like special characters stop them from figuring out your password. Instead, for sites that require users to create a password that uses both numbers and/or special characters, hackers will hit you with a counterpunch — the hybrid attack. These programs check for both simple words and add-ons. The premise is the same though. The hacker runs the program, then sits on his duff until a match is found.
If you’d like to learn more about how to better protect yourself from identity theft, purchase our book, The Young Adult’s Guide to Identity Theft.