How Hackers steal passwords – How to Protect?

Research indicates that theft of user credentials could be more dangerous compared to personally identifiable information (PII). This is because identity theft essentially discloses the victim’s online accounts. Since Email is usually used to store data from other accounts and verify credentials, an exposed email account can further lead to instances of identity theft and fraud. Stolen credentials have been the cause of some of the most costly data violations including the Equinox and Yahoo hacks. hackers steal passwords

Now, we’ve all been warned about password security. Don’t use an easy-to-guess password (such as Password01 or Emily2018). Do not share your password, and never use the dealer default password such as Netgear1. Despite all these advises, most people still don’t understand the importance of adhering to password security guidelines. Here are some of the ways by which hackers can steal your credentials and cause considerable harm.

Brute Force Attack

These are trial-and-error attempts done by the hacker several times per minute by using a computer program and your personal data or words that may be of interest to you. So, if you have a Password01, then the hacker will be able to quickly get in. Also, there are more ingenious brute force hacking programs that use more targeted words likely to be included in passwords. The hackers prioritize these words to create passwords that have higher chances of success.

Dictionary Attack

A dictionary attack is where a criminal uses a program or words to try and log in by perusing through combinations of common scripts. Unlike in brute force attack where a huge key space is searched thoroughly, hackers in dictionary attack only try those possibilities that are most likely to succeed, generally extracted from a list of phrases, for instance, a dictionary. This is where it gets the name dictionary attack. Basically, dictionary attacks have higher chances of success as many people have a habit of choosing a shot password (7 characters or less).

Rainbow Table Attacks

This attack uses hashes; that is the coded values of passwords. The table contains pre-calculated hashes of password pieces that, when correctly merged, produce the complete hash of the victim’s original password. While this approach tends to yield faster results, it relies on a larger computing power to execute. hackers steal passwords

How to Protect Yourself from Data Breaches

Password protection is the first step to protecting yourself from internet attacks. Below are some of the passwords best practices that will help you strengthen your security against ongoing password theft techniques:

Use two-factor authentication: Also called 2FA, multi-factor authentication, or advanced authentication, two-factor authentication is where a user is required to input another security factor other than the password in order to log in to the system. This makes the account more secure! The security factor can come in the form of a unique text-based access code sent to your device. A network protected by 2FA is nearly inaccessible to an external attack, even in cases where a hacker has access to the system password.

Use a long, complex password: It is always advisable to use a strong password that cannot be easily guessed. This can be a unique phrase or complex word! Hackers use multiple methods to get into your accounts and the chances of hacking a commonly used password are very high.

Do not use the same password for all your accounts: Using different passwords for each of your accounts reduces the chances of all of them being compromised. If you feel it would be difficult to remember all of your passwords, then a password manager can help you to securely store your passwords and even help create long complex ones.

Stolen credentials remain one of the most common causes of data breaches. With your password in their possession, criminals can reset passwords, lock you out of your account, wipe your data and backups, download private data, or gain access to other devices in the network. With the above best practices, you can create an effective password and strengthen your protection against unauthorized entry into your online accounts. hackers steal passwords

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