Top Three Ways Hackers Get Your Password: Guessing, Dictionary And Brutal Attacks
Our entire lives are kept on computers. In a typical household, personal information, tax records, banking and credit information, personal letters and journals, private photos, job information; in fact, virtually all of the information about everything in our lives is kept on computer files and on web sites protected by passwords of our own making and encryption provided by a computer program.
Hackers have a number of methods to get through these passwords and encryptions.
Guessing seems like an inefficient way of finding a password until you consider this; most passwords chosen by users fall into a very narrow group of word, making guessing a lot easier for would be hackers. The most commonly used passwords are a person”s name or the name of their wife, children or pets. Their birthday, license plate number, street address or the name of a favorite celebrity are also used. More disturbing are the number of people that leave their password blank or use the factory default.
A dictionary attack relies on the above information and the knowledge that most passwords are a single simple word found in any dictionary. It uses a program that runs through all the words in a dictionary until it finds a hit. Other types of dictionary attacks search through all accounts looking for hits on blank or default passwords.
A more aggressive attack, called a brute force attack, requires unlimited time but will always work. If the parameters of the password are known, say, it”s known that a certain site requires a password between 6-18 characters and must include both letters and numbers, a brute force attack will try every possible combination until it comes up with the right password. Given enough time it will always find the password, but the more possible combinations that are available, the longer it will take.
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