Ninety percent of passwords are “vulnerable” to hacking, according to a report by Deloitte, a global consulting firm. Even when a program tells you that your eight-character, multinumbered password is strong, it may not necessarily be right.
The problem with people hacking your accounts is that your information — including credit card and bank information — can be accessed. Hacking on company websites can cost millions of dollars daily, according to a PBS article.
Because of the way the human mind works, passwords become predictable. The Deloitte report found that humans struggled to remember more than seven numbers in short-term memory alone. Only five tend to be remembered over a longer period of time, the study says.
When characters are combined, only a half dozen of the 32 different symbols are used, because they are hard to be distinguished. The largest problem though is password re-use, because an average user has 26 password accounts and only five different passwords.
Difficulty remembering isn’t the only problem with weak passwords.
“A quarter of the people surveyed admitted to using less-secure passwords on mobile devices to save time,” according to the Deloitte report.
The time it takes for a user to type a 10-character password is four seconds on a keyboard, the report says, and seven to 10 seconds on a touchscreen device.
But if a password has 10 characters, it has 8,836 more possible combinations than an eight-character password and would take a password-cracking machine more than five years to crack.
Although your password may be hackable, there are ways to protect identity, according to a The Wall Street Journal article. Monitor bank, credit card statements and credit reports to know quickly if something is off, that article says. And use fraud alerts and credit freezes.
In addition, Privacy Matters suggests having the latest firewalls and anti-virus software installed, stay up-to-date with patches, scan computers regularly with good-quality anti-spyware, and be cautious about what types of websites you visit and what you click on and download.