Why should you trust me?
I’m a web developer with 10+ years of experience. I studied at a University with a strong focus on cybersecurity, which also became one of my interests and hobbies.
Seeing the social media profiles and bank accounts of so many people hacked makes me worried and sad, since most of the time it happens due to a weak password. That’s why I want to share my knowledge to prevent people from being hacked.
So please continue reading, it could prevent you from losing your social media profiles or life savings.
Why should I read this article?
There are three main reasons.
- Having strong passwords is more critical than ever.
- Strong passwords are hard to remember.
- The problems with password managers
The importance of Strong passwords.
Strong passwords are important because they can help protect your online accounts and personal information from unauthorized access. Cracking a weak password with the common techniques will only take a few minutes. Cracking the most broadly used “123456” only some seconds. If you want to learn more about the time complexity, this site has an amazing table I love to reference to.
A strong password is typically one that is long, complex, and difficult for others to guess. This makes it more difficult for hackers and other malicious actors to gain access to your accounts and steal your information. This also makes it more difficult for you to remember it. Additionally, using a different password for each account can help prevent your accounts from being compromised in the event that a website or service you use is hacked. It’s always a good idea to use strong, unique passwords for each of your online accounts to help protect your personal information and data.
To summarize, you will have to remember lots of complicated stuff, or you have to use a password manager and secure that with a strong password.
Strong passwords are hard to remember
A Strong password should have more than 8 characters, contain letters, numbers and signs, be unique and should not be your zip code and city or any other word number combination. Otherwise, it is easy to exploit (cybersecurity jargon for cracking, hacking etc.)
Strong passwords typically look like the one generated by apple passwords: juhCes-9xango-rizcaz. Have fun remembering that.
The Problem with password managers
As discussed above, strong passwords are hard to remember.
It is also no good Idea to write them down or store them in some text document. So what shall we do? Right, download a password manager or just say yes when the browser asks to remember it.
Problem solved, article useless. But wait!
We are now using a single service, give this service the link to all websites, your bank account etc. Store all the credentials you need to log In. Are we crazy? Do we know the developers of the password managers? Do we know how they store them? What if the master password will be cracked? What if the password manager is hacked?
You probably know that LastPass has been hacked in 2022, two times!
According to LastPass, there were no passwords stolen, but the hackers were able to exploit the source code. It's like your kids knowing now where you store the Christmas presents. Just that it's Criminals, and they know where to find the credentials for your bank account and how to get it.
All the above are good reasons to come up with Strong passwords that are only stored where they are really secure. In your Brain. I will now tell you how to remember them.
The best easy to remember password generator is your brain with this formula
It is so simple but so powerful.
I will decide it for you into simple steps.
- Think of one or more sentences, the longer, the better. This could be formulating a life goal or one of your favorite quotes. Just don’t tell anyone what it is.
- Remember the starting letter of every word.
- Place at least two special characters as two numbers inside this letter soup. To make things easier, they should make sense with the sentence.
- For every service you use this formula, find at least two letters describing the service to you (adapt the number of letters)
- Place the letters at a random position in your letter soup
Done! We have now created a strong password system which is easy to remember as long as you remember the sentence and your numbers.
An example password generated with our formula.
- I want to protect all the people from getting their accounts hacked
- For example medium : rd since we are reading here
Good our generated password is #Iwtpatpfgt&8rdah9, let's check if it is secure enough.
To validate this, I will use a password security checker from security.org.
Here are our results:
I think this is long enough for the next couple of years.
As you can see, this password is impossible to guess and super hard to crack. It is still easy to remember since we have a sentence and a meaning for it. If you still want to use a password manager, I Strongly suggest adding at least one character at the beginning or end of the password which is not part of your real password. By that, the stolen passwords from a password manager will be useless to most of the hackers.
Why should you trust this password formula to generate Strong passwords
Having a sentence and generating all passwords based on that might sound easy to hack. But it is not, I tried.
It would be incredibly hard to get enough of your passwords to form a pattern from it. Even if it was possible to create a pattern from it, it would be hard to first find out your letter code for the service.
Hard for a human and super hard for computers. So we already overcame the point where cracking the password would simply be too hard.
To understand that, imagine the hacker as you and the potential users to exploit their passwords as a bowl of pistachios. You have so many opportunities to crack a nut that you just leave out the ones that are closed or too hard to crack.
Even if the hacker is trying to crack the password, adding a number of letters at a random positions would technically leave him each time with a complete new password.
Breaching passwords is one of the easiest ways to hack social media profiles, bank accounts and many more. Every one of us is responsible by its own to protect from that using strong unique passwords. By applying the described formula, you have drastically increased the hardness of stealing a password and make expensive and risky password managers obsolete.
If this article saved at least one person from being hacked, my time was well spent.
All the best,
Common password cracking techniques
Password hacking complexity table