‘It takes a hacker an average of 10 minutes to crack a lower case password of six characters. Add two more letters and make some letters uppercase and that time frame jumps to three years. Add in one more number, some letters and symbols and it will take a hacker 44,530 years to crack your password.’

Agreed, it is very difficult to remember lots of different passwords for different online accounts, but ultimately it is for your protection. Before the age of a hundred online accounts, think back to advice you were given when setting a code on a padlock, or on your safe. Always change it from the default (0000), never change it to your birthday because it would be easy to guess, and use different numbers; 1111 being a common code. The same rules apply to passwords; always change it from the default password, never use details that are readily available (name, birthday), and make them complex (adding in symbols, letters and capitals).

60 % of encrypted passwords that were stolen during the hack of LinkedIn were decoded, which brings into question their strength. Hackers are becoming ever sneakier in their online activities and are finding indirect ways to get the passwords they’re really after; in most cases the ones that are protecting your money. In the last two years, Sony PlayStation, LinkedIn and Twitter have all been targets for sophisticated hacking attacks, in all cases usernames and passwords were compromised. Due to passwords being replicated, upon hacking a social networking site, hackers have information which may help them past barriers on banking websites, or other websites like Amazon, EBay or PayPal.

Passwords are a tiny part of holistic cyber security, if you need help increasing cyber security awareness in your organisation contact Templar Executives at training@templarexecs.com