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How quickly can a hacker crack your passwords?

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How secure is your password?
How secure is your password?
Photo: Shutterstock / Rawpixel


Tech company Hive Systems has just updated its password table for 2024. So how easy is it for hackers to crack your passwords? Unfortunately, this won t make for easy reading!


When did you last update the passwords you use to access web sites? Your email? Banking apps? Hive Systems first published its table in 2020 showing how long it would take a hacker to crack passwords from a simple 4-character number code to a 16-character password made up of letters, numbers and symbols. They used hardware and software freely available to buy on the internet.


Here are the findings and hopefully nobody reading this uses a password made up of 6 numbers because any half-competent hacker can bypass that instantly. That s not 10 seconds or 2 minutes but instantly .


Even easier with AI

Mix it up a little and put together a combination of 8 lower-case and capital letters and it takes a little longer: one minute! Add in numbers to the mix and it takes all of five minutes and if you chuck in a symbol or two then we re up to 12 minutes. Still not very secure and now AI is making the hackers job even easier as ChatGPT has many tools hackers can exploit.


The Hive Systems research focuses on the idea that the hacker is working in isolation and is having to start from scratch to crack your password to show the maximum time required. However, if your password was part of another breach or uses dictionary words then your password will be found instantly.


The good news is a 16-chracter password made up of upper- and lower-case letters, numbers and symbols would take 119 years to crack. So next time you re prompted to strengthen your password it might be worth taking notice.


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Written by
Kevin Fraser Park
Kevin was born in Scotland and worked in marketing, running his own businesses in UK, Italy and, for the last 8 years, here in Spain. He moved to the Costa del Sol in 2016 working initially in real estate. He has a passion for literature and particularly the English language which is how he got into writing.


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