Hackers | Loophole | Digital World | 06th December 2022 | Virtual Wire
We live in a digital world where most people spend their whole day on the internet. We fear hackers and getting hacked. Yet, we might unknowingly be doing what hackers love. Want to know what they are? Then keep reading!
Using Weak Passwords
In our aim to make life easier for us by using simple passwords that we can easily remember, we make a big mistake by doing one of the things hackers love, which is using a weak password. Hackers love it when we use weak passwords. They probably thank us when we do that. It makes it so easy for them to hack our accounts whether on social media platforms or websites. Now, we need to know what a weak password is. Simply put it, a weak password is a password that is short, predictable, system default or common. Also, a weak password can be easily guessed by using a brute-force attack. A brute-force attack is a method used to randomly guess as many passwords as possible. These random passwords could be from a list of random information gathered from the target like username, date of birth, or just random words the hacker could think of.
The top 10 most commonly used passwords are;
Are you guilty of using one of them or similar? Then a hacker might be one step away from hacking your account. But you can stop that from happening. How? By changing your weak password to a strong one! Now, we need to know what are the characteristics of a weak password in order to avoid them. This is what I will talk about next.
Characteristics Of A Weak Password
Your name, date of birth, phone number or other commonly known information about you.
The name of your loved ones or other commonly known information about them.
One password for all accounts.
Repeating previously used passwords.
All numbers or letters in the password.
Less than 8 characters in the password.
Common patterns like 12345, Abcde, qwerty etc.
Default passwords (Passwords suggested by websites)
Shared with someone.
Word in the Dictionary.
This might not be all but these are the most important ones. After knowing the things that your password should not have, you need to know what your password should have to make it a strong password.
Characteristics Of A Strong Password
A combination of numbers and letters.
A combination of uppercase and lowercase letters.
Not shared with anyone.
Not found in the Dictionary.
At Least 8 or more characters long (the longer, the better)
At Least one special character (e.g.! @ & ?)
Note: avoid using < or >. It might be a problem.
Examples of strong Passwords are; AWsYTte231@#, 2BeUifQY!!, 679TodiW!@ru, TyuSeiteYYe8921EJ!@.
Thinking You Can’t Be A Hacker’s Target
You won’t prepare for what you think can’t affect you and this is what hackers love. They love it when we think we can’t be a victim or we don’t have much to offer. Different hackers are after different things. Some are after money while some are after data or people’s identities. You might think you don’t have the money they will come after or the identity that is worth stealing but you are wrong. Their main target can be on your list and they can get to them through you. The target could also be the organization where you work. Some will use your identity to seek money from people on your list. You might lose your identity or your integrity. You might never know what damage they will do to your reputation and that might be worse than losing money. When you think you can’t be a target, you won’t be vigilant and everything will seem ordinary to you thinking no one is coming after you and that is when you are most likely going to fall, victim. Just because it didn’t happen yet doesn’t mean it might not happen. You really can be a hacker’s next target.
Not Using Multi-Factor Authentication (Mfa)
Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) simply means a user using more than one method of verification in order to gain access to their account or application. Instead of just demanding for only your password, another step of verification might be added like sending a code to your email or phone number or demanding your fingerprint etc. People usually avoid adding MFA because they feel like it is stressful and requires more time than just typing in a password, well this is what hackers love. To feel lazy to do simple additional things to make your account secure. The higher the number of authentication methods, the lower the probability of getting hacked.
Posting Everything Or Personal Information About You
Hackers love social butterflies. People that love posting everything about themselves. Information about their loved ones. It could be the new organization they are working for or all the big people they know. Hackers love people who post as much personal information about themselves on the internet as possible. People who don’t know the boundaries of things they should post about their organization or their life. There is a 50% probability that a hacker is on your friend list waiting on information to act on. When you post vital information about yourself online, you might bring a hacker’s attention to yourself which will make you a potential victim. He might not strike immediately. Hackers are patient people. They are not in a rush. They gather as much information as possible before they strike. If you are one of the people who use their loved one’s name as a password and you have already posted their names, It will be very easy to hack your account. If you want to be a social butterfly, it’s fine but be smart about it. Remember, a hacker might be one of your friend lists watching you.
Clicking On Any Link Without Verification
Hackers love people who can click on any link without verification. Hackers feed on our curiosity and desperation. “Curiosity kills the cat” so they say but, in this case, curiosity turns you into a victim. Instead of being curious about where the link came from and how legit it is, many of us are more curious about where the link will take us, so we click on it without hesitation. Hackers feed on our desperations. Links that are branded as opportunity links always have a high probability of being clicked on before verification. It could be a job opportunity or scholarship. Whenever you receive a link, go to the page of the website written and confirm first. One of the websites to use to confirm whether a link is legit or not before clicking on it is www.virustotal.com. There is a section where you can paste a suspicious URL (link) and confirm. It will scan it and confirm if it is malicious or suspicious, or not.
After reading all that, I hope you understand that you have to do what hackers hate in order to be safe. Be vigilant and try to practice all that is mentioned as countermeasures.
Use a strong password.
Stop thinking you can’t be a target.
Use Multi-Factor Authentication.
Avoid posting vital information about yourself.
Don’t click on any link without verification.