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If you are under the assumption that your password is safe, then you are at risk of a rude awakening when a hacker steals your password. Creating your password is only the beginning as far as password security is concerned. Making common password mistakes when creating the password is similar to offering up your password for free. To protect your password, you need an understanding of the methods used by hackers to steal passwords, which would provide an in-depth look and insights into your password vulnerabilities and how to overcome them.
Malware refers to malicious code that is introduced into your device. Of course, the functions of malware vary, and some are dedicated to password theft, including keyloggers, RATs, and trojan horses.
A keylogger creates a log of all your keystrokes from the moment you start your device and then sends the log to the hacker, and the hacker can then extract your password after going through the log. A RAT is a malware that allows the hacker to view your screen, and it comes with a built-in keylogger. When the hacker gets the log and compares it to the time you were on a specific site, they get your password. A trojan horse is a malicious code that is embedded in an application and can “carry” other malware such as RATs or even create a backdoor to your device, giving the hacker free access to your device.
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To protect your device against malware, you need to install an antivirus and encryption software. The antivirus scans your device and eliminates existing malware while preventing future infection. The encryption software provides an extra layer of security on your device, which the hacker has to bypass before infecting your device with malware.
Phishing is an attack that relies on deception and manipulation to get passwords and sensitive information from the victim. The attack relies on social engineering and plays on the emotions and behavior of an individual. The hacker sends messages to the target that elicit an action from the victim. The action could either be clicking on a link to visit a phishing website or downloading a document that contains malware. Although it sounds easy to avoid, phishing attacks are one of the most challenging attacks to defend against.
To protect against phishing attacks, you need to find a way to bypass the psychological attack. For instance, you should make it a habit not to click on links in your emails. Additionally, you need proper cybersecurity measures in place such as using password managers, antivirus software, encrypting your messages to avoid spam, and using PGP to authenticate the sender’s identity.
Brute force relies on pure computing power to break through your password. The hacker uses various means to come up with combinations of passwords until they unlock yours. The process can be tormenting, but hackers use their GPU to augment the CPUs and boost processing power, which increases the frequency of calculations and shortens the time needed to break your password. To simplify brute force attacks, hackers use dictionary attacks and reverse brute force attacks. Dictionary attacks are, as the name suggests, using the words in a dictionary to come up with possible password combinations. Reverse brute force, on the other hand, refers to where the hacker already has the password but tries to find the username. Reverse brute force is an attack that happens when passwords on a database are leaked.
To protect against brute force attacks, you should strengthen your password and use a password manager. To strengthen your password, you should include random characters, which prevents the hacker from guessing the hash value of your password. Upon creation, a password is stored as a hash value in a database, which is an encryption of the password. However, if you use a common password, the hacker can guess the password since the hash value will be similar to other passwords.
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For better protection against password theft, you need to increase your knowledge on how hackers steal passwords and the available countermeasures. Strengthening your password to protect against password theft and using password managers are only some of the most basic ways to protect against password theft.