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Password - change it to be hack proof

How to change password to be hack proof and protect your password

Your password is the key to you. If unscrupulous people know your password they have access to you and all that represents you and your identity. They can use your password to empty your bank accounts, to pose as you to commit a crime, to hack all information about you and your emails. Your password is the key to you.

Ensure that when you become a famous blogger you have a hack proof password as many hackers will try to attack your blog. My own experience shows that about 14% of page traffic is hacking traffic.

It can be pretty dangerous if someone discovers your password or you accidentally give it out. Have you been to ROC (Registrar of Companies) in Kuala Lumpur, lately? You will find many small counters outside, manned by people who say they will help you renew your company license or help you register a new company.

Do you know what information they want from you? They will ask you if you have an email address and your username and password! They don't care for your safety or privacy and I bet you my last dollar they are up to no good. Keep your password a secret - even from yourself if possible - then no one can get your password.

How do hackers get your password?

how to change password and make it hack proof

All of us cannot escape from using the internet. The Internet has become a necessity of life and hence most of us have an email address or two and many have joined other websites, Facebook, Google+ and other sites as members. Our social life has become dependent upon the Internet. Our businesses have websites promoting our products or blogs promoting our point of view. That means all of us will have at least one password to be used somewhere on the internet.

There are many ways to hack a website or an email account. The most common technique that hackers rely on to get your password is to try all possible combinations of characters until one combination of characters lets them into your account.

If you are using a 4 digit password, I tell you, that it will take a few seconds for hackers to unlock your account and create havoc in your account. The technique they use is called Brute Force Technique. That is they try every combination of numbers and letters until they get into your account. If you use a 4 digit number they need only to try at most 10,000 combinations to get in. Programs or robots that automatically key in all combinations can break a 4 digit numeric password in 17 minutes. Shockingly fast isn't it? This is the reason you will always be told to have at least 8 alphanumeric digits for your password. An 8 numeric password, like '89764523' can be broken within 4 months using one PC. If the hacker had used 30 PC's he would have hacked your account within 4 days.

It is easy to hack your short passwords

Password Digits   Possible Combinations   Time to break
1 10 1   seconds
2 100 10   seconds
3 1,000 100   seconds
4 10,000 17   minutes
5 100,000 167   minutes
6 1,000,000 28   hours
7 10,000,000 12   days
8 100,000,000 4   months
9 1,000,000,000 3   years
10 10,000,000,000 32   years

I have provided a table above to show how easy it is to hack your password through the internet if you are using only numbers for your password. From the above estimations it is observed that you should keep your password long. I was using a 12 digit alphanumeric password when hackers tried to hack into one of my websites.

Database queries at one of my websites

Jan-2013   Database Queries
16 327,419
17 312,208
18 340,706
19 264,724
20 466,856
21 28,143,987
22 325,454
23 264,421
24 269,089
25 222,316

As you can see from the above table, on January 21st 2013, hackers had tried to hack into my website by trying all possible combinations. As my password was 12 digits long they had given up the bulk of their attempts after one day. I suspect they are trying more combinations and even as I write this article they are trying to hack into my account.

To carry out 28 million login attempts within a 24 hour period would have required quite a bit of computing power. I estimate that they had used at least 30 PC's simultaneous to hack my website. This would indicate the hacking was carried by a major organization or a government or even the Muslim Terrorist. Both my sites were hacked before by the Muslim Terrorist. What they did not know was that as I was using a 12 digit alphanumeric password it would have taken them 34,975,874,015,875 ( 34 trillion years) to check all combinations with 30 PC's. I have since changed my passwords to 20 to 22 digits.

How to change your password to something that is hack proof

In the above paragraphs I had mentioned using a long password. One would have easily noticed that the longer the password the more difficult it becomes to guess it or to hack it. Now I will show you how to make your password difficult to crack.

The order of difficulty lies in the variations of alphabets, numbers and symbols you use. There are only 10 numbers, 0 to 9. That limits the number of combinations per digit of password. If you included lower case alphabets the number of combination permissible increases by 26 because there are 26 lower case alphabets. This means that if you used a combination of numbers and lower case alphabets you can have 10+26 = 36 combinations per digit in your password. An 8 digit password can have 2,821,109,907,456 combinations and take 268 years to break if 30 computers were used to try all combinations or 8,040 years to break using one computer.

Password Numbers and lower case Time to break Units
Digits All Possible Combinations using 30 PC's
1 36 0.11 seconds
2 1,296 4 seconds
3 46,656 2 minutes
4 1,679,616 1 hours
5 60,466,176 2 days
6 2,176,782,336 3 months
7 78,364,164,096 7 years
8 2,821,109,907,456 268 years
9 101,559,956,668,416 9,661 years
10 3,656,158,440,062,980 347,808 years
11 131,621,703,842,267,000 12,521,091 years
12 4,738,381,338,321,620,000 450,759,260 years
13 170,581,728,179,578,000,000 16,227,333,350 years
14 6,140,942,214,464,820,000,000 584,184,000,615 years
15 221,073,919,720,733,000,000,000 21,030,624,022,140 years
16 7,958,661,109,946,400,000,000,000 757,102,464,797,032 years
17 286,511,799,958,070,000,000,000,000 27,255,688,732,693,100 years
18 10,314,424,798,490,500,000,000,000,000 981,204,794,376,953,000 years
19 371,319,292,745,659,000,000,000,000,000 35,323,372,597,570,300,000 years
20 13,367,494,538,843,700,000,000,000,000,000 1,271,641,413,512,530,000,000 years
21 481,229,803,398,374,000,000,000,000,000,000 45,779,090,886,451,100,000,000 years
22 17,324,272,922,341,500,000,000,000,000,000,000 1,648,047,271,912,240,000,000,000 years
23 623,673,825,204,293,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 59,329,701,788,840,700,000,000,000 years
24 22,452,257,707,354,600,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 2,135,869,264,398,260,000,000,000,000 years

To make your password even more difficult to break use all 4 types of alphanumeric characters, that is, numbers, 0-9, uppercase letters, A-Z, lowercase letters, a-z, and the symbols !@#$%^&*()_+-={}|[]\:";'<>?,./ of which there are 30 symbols. This will result in every digit in your password would have a potential of 10+26+26+30 = 92 combinations.

An 8 digit password would have 5,132,188,731,375,620 combinations and a 12 digit password would have 367,666,387,654,882,000,000,000 combinations. It literally becomes impossible to crack using the Brute Force Method.

Password Numbers, lower & upper case & symbols Time to break Units
Digits All Possible Combinations using 30 PC's
1 92 0.28 seconds
2 8,464 25.39 seconds
3 778,688 38.93 minutes
4 71,639,296 2.49 days
5 6,590,815,232 7.63 months
6 606,355,001,344 57.68 years
7 55,784,660,123,648 5,306 years
8 5,132,188,731,375,620 488,221 years
9 472,161,363,286,557,000 44,916,415 years
10 43,438,845,422,363,200,000 4,132,310,257 years
11 3,996,373,778,857,420,000,000 380,172,543,650 years
12 367,666,387,654,882,000,000,000 34,975,874,015,875 years
13 33,825,307,664,249,200,000,000,000 3,217,780,409,460,540 years
14 3,111,928,305,110,920,000,000,000,000 296,035,797,670,369,000 years
15 286,297,404,070,205,000,000,000,000,000 27,235,293,385,674,000,000 years
16 26,339,361,174,458,900,000,000,000,000,000 2,505,646,991,482,010,000,000 years
17 2,423,221,228,050,210,000,000,000,000,000,000 230,519,523,216,345,000,000,000 years
18 222,936,352,980,620,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 21,207,796,135,903,700,000,000,000 years
19 20,510,144,474,217,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 1,951,117,244,503,140,000,000,000,000 years
20 1,886,933,291,627,970,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 179,502,786,494,289,000,000,000,000,000 years
21 173,597,862,829,773,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 16,514,256,357,474,600,000,000,000,000,000 years
22 15,971,003,380,339,100,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 1,519,311,584,887,660,000,000,000,000,000,000 years
23 1,469,332,310,991,200,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 139,776,665,809,665,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 years
24 135,178,572,611,190,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 12,859,453,254,489,200,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 years

A simple technique to create a difficult to crack password

how to change password

You will observe that the password, 22.77+3=Goats@TheMarket!, above, is 24 digits long. It is not that difficult to remember and uses all 4 types of character sets available on the standard QWERTY keyboard. In order to crack this password a robot has to process potentially 135,178,572,611, 190,000,000,000, 000,000,000,000, 000,000,000,000 combinations. Don't use this example as your password as hackers reading this article will try this example out.

If you are using words, to make it easier to remember the password, do miss-spell them so that a hacker can't try all the words in the dictionary. For example, the password 22.77+3=Goats@TheMarket! could have been misspelt as "22.77+3=Giats@TheMirket!". Better still use a combination of other languages. For example, "22.77+3=Ayam@LaMaison!". I am using two different languages, Malay and French, here.

This is the simple technique. Create a long complex password that makes sense to you and then skew it a little.

How to protect your password

how to protect password

Remember at the beginning of this article I had mentioned that it would be better if you did not remember your password. I have done this. There is a way especially for those who are forgetful. I read this article on password dongles and decided to try something similar.

I saved my passwords in a file in a USB flash memory drive or pen drive. Whenever I need the password, I plug in my pen drive and look up my .txt file and copy and paste it into the password field. There are no keystrokes for keystroke recording malware to record. Furthermore I can have many unique and different passwords for different sites and email addresses. For further protection you can encrypt the file so that if anyone gets your USB drive will not be able to access your passwords within a reasonable time.

Further protection for your passwords

Do use a good anti-virus program to protect your PC. I use both "Spybot Search and Destroy" and AVG together. Spybot has caught password and keystroke recoding malware on my PC. AVG has blocked malware from the Internet infecting my PC.

Don't save your password file on your computer as if your computer is stolen your passwords go with it. That happened to me too. Keep your password file in the USB device only. It is small and easily slips into your trouser pocket, so it is with you at all times.

Do change Facebook password and change gmail password to a long password like I have shown above. My gmail account has been hacked into twice over the last 3 years. On both occasions Google detected the hack and blocked the hacker from getting through. Thanks Google.

This article how to create a brute force and hack proof password was researched and written by Peter Achutha, 16th January 2013

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