Many tech bloggers write about the need for strong passwords. It makes sense that we should have strong, not easily guessed passwords, but what defines strong? How easy or difficult is it for a cybercriminal to hack your password?
One common technique used by hackers is called a brute-force attack. A brute-force attack is a trial-and-error method of guessing your password. Hackers use specially-crafted programs to cycle through dictionary-based words, non-dictionary words and all possible combinations of alpha-numeric characters in an attempt to glean the “key” protecting your sensitive data. The limiting factor is compute power. The more processing power the hacker can leverage, the faster your data can be hacked.
Malware. We’ve all heard of it. It’s been headline news. The US Dept. of Homeland Security issues daily threat alerts. Software companies and device manufacturers scramble to patch discovered exploits. Many of us have had friends, family or colleagues who have been infected.