Hackers use numerous methods to infiltrate your online accounts and exploit sensitive data (or just outright steal money). But one of the most effective methods is also one of the simplest: They guess your passwords to important accounts. No, that doesn’t mean they sit around tapping random keywords into password fields until they get lucky; hackers have invented sophisticated software that tries millions or even billions of passwords in rapid succession until they crack your accounts.

But even with these dangerous programs, you have a lot of power to prevent them from guessing your passwords correctly. To get an idea of how fast and effective these password hacking programs can be when passwords are simple, as opposed to more complicated passwords, consider the following timeline for hacking:

  • A password of six random lowercase letters can be hacked in one second
  • A password of eleven random lowercase letters can be hacked in about eleven hours
  • A password of eleven random uppercase and lowercase letters can be hacked in about two and a half years
  • A password of eleven random uppercase and lowercase letters, plus numbers and symbols, will take about 500 years to hack

So to create the more complicated passwords, follow these eight rules (and train your employees to do so):

  • Don’t use personal information
  • Avoid the generic passwords like “qwerty” or “password”
  • Don’t use real words
  • Use at least eleven characters
  • Use a combination of uppercase and lowercase letters, symbols, numbers, and punctuation
  • If you need help remembering your passwords, you can use a phrase in which each word stands for a character in the password itself
  • Change passwords regularly
  • Use a password logging program if you need to remember multiple passwords

And remember, we’re always here to answer questions about internet security. If you need help creating a secure network or a system for passwords, give us a call at 888-RING-MY-TECH and we’ll be happy to help.