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Want to save a lot of money and a lot of trouble? Get very serious about your passwords.
The easiest way for a criminal to gain access to your banking or brokerage account, or even your credit cards, is by guessing your password. A strong password provides essential protection against financial fraud and identity theft. Simple or commonly used passwords enable a hacker to easily gain access and control of an account, and many of us are making it easy.
The 10 most common passwords are…
(“Qwerty” comes from the first six letters on a keyboard in the upper left-hand corner.)
Really?! That’s the best we can do to protect our assets?
The average desktop PC has become so powerful that a hacker can crack most passwords in as little as a few hours. And the costs associated with weak passwords are astronomical. The average person has 25 online accounts, and 81% of all breaches of these accounts are caused by weak passwords. It has gotten so bad, and the risks are so great, that security experts are now offering to delay how often you have to change your passwords (one of the biggest pains in our modern world) if we will create passwords that are considered more hack-resistant.
So what constitutes a strong password? Every extra character in your password increases the difficulty for hackers to crack it. Think one extra letter or number doesn’t mean much? Consider this:
A 6-character password with only letters has 308,915,776 possible combinations.
An 8-character password with only letters has 208,827,064,576 possible combinations.
An 8-character password with letters (upper & lower case) and includes numbers and symbols has 6,095,689,385,410,816 possible combinations.
There is real strength in numbers…or in this case, extra characters.
If you can’t afford to have your savings, checking, and brokerage accounts emptied – and I don’t know anybody who can – please create strong passwords by using a combination of length, complexity and unpredictability. Use at least 16 letters, numbers and/or symbols in your passwords. These are what experts tell us are virtually un-hackable.
Or you can take it easy and keep using your name, address or 12345… Why not roll the dice just one more time?
Get serious about your online security, or get robbed. It’s that simple.