Cybersecurity experts explain how your password could be hacked

Nowadays, everything requires a login and passcode. No matter how strong you make it, it’s still at risk for hackers to get into it.
Published: Apr. 21, 2023 at 4:00 PM EDT|Updated: Apr. 21, 2023 at 4:20 PM EDT
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RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) -When did you last update your passcodes? Cybersecurity experts say 95% of cyber-attacks are due to human error.

Nowadays, everything requires a login and passcode. No matter how strong you make it, it’s still at risk for hackers to get into it.

“We as consumers have to take care of our digital identity online our sleeves,” said Alex Nette.

Alex Nette is the CEO and co-founder of Hive Systems, a Richmond-based cybersecurity company.

The company just released its 2023 password table that describes how easy it can be for hackers to break into your accounts.

In 2020, a simple eight-character passcode would take hours to crack. Three years later, they’re doing it in five minutes.

“We see the times implicit able in 2020 get halved and sometimes even more here in 2023,” said Nette. “That shows the rapid pace of computing power that’s being developed and that’s one part of the problem.”

The second part of the problem is how those websites and companies store and encrypt your passwords.

“So as the computing power goes up, the encryption is still staying the same. That’s a huge problem,” said Nette. ”There are better encryption methods available that websites can use, they’re just not using it, and that’s why we as consumers have to take this power back in our hands and set those solid and secure passwords ourselves.”

Artificial intelligence has also played a significant role in hackers’ ability to brute force your account. That’s when hackers use computers to randomly generate what your password could be.

“The biggest vulnerability and risk to you as a person is reusing passwords or using some sort of passcode methodology,’ said Alex Nette.

For example, Nette says putting specific keywords before phrases makes brute forcing your account easier.

“So if you see your password on here and says that that time is only two weeks, that is the worst-case scenario for a hacker. With more money and computing power over time, these times have continued to come down. Which means that password may be hackable instantaneously next year,” said Nette.

Nette says the best way to protect yourself is through a two-step authentication process. That’s a tool that requires either a multi-step approach to logging in. You can also use passcode managers. Those are companies that secure your passwords for you.

“So take the time to protect yourself, go through and identify and inventory all of your online accounts and make sure they are secure, ” Nette said.