By Praveen Kannan and Anna Strokolyst The Hotspot Shield team believes the internet should be open and secure …
Many people still believe that creating strong passwords makes their accounts safe and secure. This is simply not true. While a majority of internet users may not be able to guess your passwords, cybercriminals are a different story altogether.
Cybercriminals didn’t just write the book on how to crack a password, they also possess highly advanced tools for hacking and breaking into systems. It would not take them more than a few attempts to get into your accounts (unless you have a VPN, two-factor authentication, or some other protective measure set up for your device). Here are some of the methods hackers use to crack passwords.
Believe it or not, “123456” is the most utilized password on the planet, and variations such as “1234567” and “12345678” are equally common. This means that in this day and age, where cyber attacks are becoming increasingly dangerous, people are still creating passwords that hackers can figure out in mere seconds.
Hackers know this fact, so the first thing they do when trying to break into an account is manually try to guess the password. This is known as brute force hacking, and with this method, hackers are usually able to get the password right after only a few tries. In addition, a lot of users still don’t take advantage of two-factor authentication, which only makes it easier for hackers to crack their passwords.
Aside from brute forcing passwords, another method commonly used by hackers to get your password is phishing. In most cases, this involves tricking you into entering your login credentials on a platform that looks legitimate but isn’t.
For example, you may get an email marked “URGENT” from someone posing as your bank, advising you that you need to take immediate action because your bank account has been compromised. You’ll then be required to click on a link that brings you to an online form where you’ll have to put in your account details, including your username and password.
Using certain applications, a hacker can monitor the traffic on a public Wi-Fi network and intercept data from anyone connected there. Within the span of a few minutes, a hacker will have access to all the information you entered while logged onto a public Wi-Fi network.
This is one of the many reasons why you should be cautious when using public Wi-Fi. Cybercriminals are aware that security is extremely lax on these networks, so they capitalize on it. By using a VPN, however, you can encrypt your data and protect yourself when connected to an unsecured network.
In cybersecurity, social engineering is when you are psychologically manipulated to reveal confidential information such as your login details.
Here’s how a scenario might play out: You’ll receive a call from a hacker claiming to be a representative of your Internet Service Provider (or ISP). They would act friendly towards you so that you’ll let your guard down, after which they’ll either pose a series of questions that lead to you revealing your login information or ask you for your username and password outright. Cybercriminals use this technique to great effect, and you’d be surprised at how often it works.
With hackers, it’s imperative never to let your guard down when it comes to your personal login details and passwords. If you’re looking for simple tips to significantly improve your online privacy, be sure to read our blog post on the topic. And make sure that online security becomes a focus for you and your family. After all, hackers are smart, but with some basic knowledge and a cautious hand, you can significantly reduce your chances of becoming a victim.
So what is the best way to protect your password? The answer is to use a strong password for each account and to always use a VPN when browsing the web. Tools like VPN Mentor’s password generator can help you create a strong password. For a VPN, try Hotspot Shield today for free to protect your passwords, IP address, and more.