In the United States, a hacking attack happens every 39 seconds. Cybercriminals are constantly looking for vulnerabilities in your network, so you have to be vigilant about keeping them out.
For instance, many have the ultimate goal of figuring out your passwords so they can gain access to things like bank accounts. But there are ways to prevent this from occurring.
In this article, we’ll discuss the types of password attacks and how you can protect your computer against them.
The Types of Password Attacks
One of the more subtle ways hackers are carrying out password attacks is through social engineering. This is essentially online scamming where hackers trick you into giving up your credentials. It often happens with fake “reset Mac password” emails.
Below are the other common types of password attacks you’ll see.
Brute Force Attacks
As the name suggests, this kind of attack is akin to someone taking a battering ram and smashing it against a door multiple times to try and get in.
Hackers will run programs that’ll essentially guess at your password rapidly until it’s successful.
This is similar to brute force, but more targeted. Cybercriminals will use programs preloaded with the most common or likely passwords to guess at your credentials.
This type of attack can be incredibly sophisticated. Not only do they use English words, but also ones in other languages. In addition, they use slang and internet speak to increase their chances of success.
How to Prevent Password Attacks
Thankfully, there are several precautions you can take to prevent these password attacks. The best way to do so is to implement all strategies; this will up your security to the max.
Here are the ways you can prevent password attacks.
Be Wary of Everything Online
In the case of social engineering, it’s a bit harder to prevent successful attacks, but it’s still doable. You just need to treat everything with a grain of salt.
If an email asks you to log in through a URL that seems fishy, don’t click on it (hover your cursor over it to see). Instead, type the real URL into your browser and log in that way. You can then check if further action needs to be taken.
Don’t download any attachments unless absolutely necessary. If something seems suspicious, contact the person to make sure they actually sent them.
Make sure you’re running a robust antivirus program and keep it up to date. That way, if you have any misclicks, it’ll eliminate malicious files before they can infect your network.
Create Strong Passwords
When creating a password, you might be tempted to use something you can remember easily. For instance, your first dog and your favorite number. You might even use all lowercase letters so it’s a lot easier.
But what many don’t realize is if you create easy passwords, not only are they easy for you to guess, but they also are for hackers. This is especially true if you have a lot of public information out there on social media, such as your birthdate and pictures of you with your pets.
To make things harder for cybercriminals, you should create passwords that use uppercase letters, lowercase letters, numbers, and symbols if possible. You should also stay away from using dictionary words, as these are easy to guess too.
The best passwords are made of strings of nonsensical letters, numbers, and symbols; these fend against both brute force and dictionary attacks. But how do you remember these?
There are plenty of password manager add-ons that can store your passwords in encrypted form. Many also generate strong passwords for you so you don’t have to do it yourself.
Use Different Passwords for Each Site
It can also be tempting to use one password across all sites. It’s easier to remember, after all.
But if a hacker is able to guess that password, this means they have access to practically every account! So you want to decrease the chances of them ever doing so.
What you should do is use different passwords for every account. Again, using a password manager add-on can help, as it can generate the passwords plus store them securely. It’ll autofill the username and password fields so you don’t have to do a thing.
Change Your Passwords Often
Another way to fend off cybercriminals is to change your passwords often. You know the concept of how it’s harder to hit a moving target? This is the same concept.
A hacker might get lucky and guess one of your passwords right, but by that time, you may have already changed it to something else. This denies them access and prevents more serious things from happening, such as identity theft.
Set up Two-Factor Authentication (2FA)
2FA can be a great last line of defense.
Let’s say a cybercriminal managed to get their hands on your username and password. Usually, they’d gain access to your account after entering that information.
But with 2FA, there’s an extra step. Something like a code is sent to your phone, which expires within a few minutes; if it’s not entered, or if the wrong code is typed in, then access is denied.
So with 2FA, you can deny a hacker access since they don’t have your phone with them.
Protect Your Computer From These Types of Password Attacks
After reading about the types of password attacks, you might be a little intimidated about surfing around online. But the reality is, so long as you practice good digital hygiene, you stand a good chance against cybercriminals.
So create strong passwords, use different ones on each site, and run a robust antivirus program to block out those hackers.
For more information about computers, please take a look at our other blog articles.