Your Passwords Aren’t As Safe As You Thought

If we’re anything alike you get irritated at websites that force you to create a password containing special characters, capital letters, numbers, hieroglyphics, the blood of a bald eagle, a haiku, and a gang sign. You create the password, write it down (maybe), forget where you wrote it down, select the “Forget Password” option and Netflix ‘n Chi-potle for 3 hours waiting on the email containing the link to change your password. It’s a lot easier to just use the same password for everything, right? That’s what you may think.

Peking University has created an algorithm they donned TarGuess. We aren’t really sure what the name is supposed to mean but I’m certain we could’ve done better. Anyways, this badly named university’s terribly named algorithm can crack your password in less than 100 guesses 73% of the time.

You’re probably thinking, “100 guesses is WAY too much work.” Consider this- the system is simulating a hacker who is willing to put in more time and effort to crack your code than you put in to make it safe.

The algorithm works by guessing two key data points- your personally identifiable information and sister passwords.

Sister passwords are passwords you use for any other accounts. If you use similar passwords for each of your accounts, the odds are not in your favor. The similar passwords make all your other passwords weaker.

Personally identifiable information is info you enter into websites such as Instagram and Facebook. If you tweet something like “Go Yankees” TarGuess is able to use that Tweet to gather relevant information.

The more information you post about yourself on the internet, the higher the chance is of the internet getting to know you and cracking your passcode from that data.

Here are some ways to make sure your passwords are as strong as possible:

-Use various passwords for different accounts that aren’t similar to others.

-Telepathwords is a website that attempts to read your mind and guess your password. Use it to test the difficulty of your password. 

-HowSecureIsMyPassword.net is a website that will tell you how long it would take for a computer to hack your password.

-Use Passpack to keep track of all your different passwords.

-Just stay away from the internet. Yeah right! Like that’s going to happen. Tinfoil hats are not a fashion accessory we recommend. Instead, just follow the advice above.

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