COLUMBUS, Miss. (WCBI) – Passwords are like opinions.
Almost everyone has one, but unfortunately, most of them aren’t very good.
Variety is the spice of life, and it’s also an important element in password security.
So is uniqueness.
We get cracking with local computer expert Hagan Walker in tonight’s edition The Changing Family.
The password is…
Like Betty White, passwords have come along way, but are more popular than ever.
The average person has at least one, and should have several more than that.
Hagan Walker is a sophomore electrical engineering major at Mississippi State.
He is also the brains behind hagancomputerservices.com .
He says, ” For example if someone found out your Facebook password, and your password for your e-mail, and your password for your computer, your bank account, then you would be in a world of trouble.”
As in social bridges burned and bank accounts cleaned out.
One common way to get your password is called a dictionary attack.
Hagan explains, ” And they actually use a dictionary and they’ll go through and try a bunch of different words that are in the dictionary, all at one time, so if it is a common phrase, with just a few numbers behind it, or something, those are usually really easy to crack.”
The key to fast hacking is physical access to your computer.
Bad guys can load everything they need on an inexpensive 2 gigabyte jump drive.
Hagan has one, but he only uses it for good.
He said, ” It took 12 seconds to figure out a 4 letter password.”
Seconds later, I asked, ” It got soccer fan 24?” Hagan confirmed, ” Yah, so 55 seconds, so my password was Walker24, it got that in a minute.”
Most hackers will only spend about 10 minutes before they give up.
How can you keep them frustrated?
Hagan advises, ” The longer a password is, the harder it is to crack, exponentially. So if you have like a 10 character password with some special characters in it, that could take up to like 3 or 400 years.”
I asked, ” Really?”
Hagan responded, ” Yes, it just depends on how hard they are to guess.”
I asked, ” You’ll totally be dead by then?”
Hagan agreed, ” Totally, so you don’t have to worry about it.”
As for passwords in general, biometric technology could one day spell their doom, but don’t hold your breath.
Hagan says, ” You can scan your finger on some newer laptops nowadays, really secure places have like eye scanners at the door. At MSU we have card scanners to get in places and stuff, but as far as on your computer, not really feasible for the next couple of years.”
Definitely something to keep in mind the next time you sit at your keyboard.
Hagan says some people write their passwords down, others store them in their phone to keep them straight, but each method of storage carries its on form or risk.