AI Can Crack Eight-Character Passwords in Under Seven Hours

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Need to Know from SafeWise
  • PassGAN, a new AI password-cracking software, can crack over half of the commonly used passwords in less than a minute.
  • According to a new report, AI can crack any seven-character password in under six minutes.
  • Password managers can help you set and remember a strong password, while two-factor authentication provides an added layer of security.
  • The most challenging passwords to crack are 18-character passwords with numbers, symbols, and upper- and lowercase letters.

A new report from Home Security Heroes found that artificial intelligence can crack most common passwords in under a minute. This is a huge security risk for people who use the same password repeatedly and keep their passwords only text or number based.

Creating a strong password makes it harder for hackers to break into your account, but the rise of artificial intelligence means that what used to be strong passwords can be broken in just a few hours.

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The Home Security Heroes report used PassGAN, an AI password-cracking software, to test the durability of passwords against an artificial intelligence network. Over 15.6 million passwords were tested against PassGAN.

The AI instantly cracked 81% of commonly used passwords in less than a month and 20 password types.

How to create an unbreakable password

Coming up with a difficult-to-crack password that you also remember is difficult. Luckily, you don’t have to do it alone.

Password managers allow you to make and track your passwords. You have to remember one password, though: the master password for the password manager. You’ll be all set if you write that one down and store it somewhere safe.

Another smart move is looking into two-factor authentication. Two-factor authentication adds an extra layer of security to your account by pinging your email or mobile phone to confirm that it’s you logging into the account. It can be a pain sometimes to type in a password and then type in a second auto-generated code from your phone, but it’s worth it. Plus, you can trust specific devices and browsers, so you don’t have to authenticate each time.

It takes AI 10 months to crack an 18-character numbers-only password. Add an uppercase and lowercase letter, and it’ll take AI 96 trillion years!

Creating a long password is also helpful. It takes AI 10 months to crack an 18-character numbers-only password. Add an uppercase and lowercase letter, and it’ll take AI 96 trillion years! Once you get above 16 characters, it is much harder for AI to run through all the password combos, so the longer the password, the better.

When asking you to create a password, most websites require at least eight characters, a number, an uppercase letter, a lowercase letter, and a symbol or special character. Even with just those requirements, it’ll take artificial intelligence seven hours to crack your password. While that’s not ideal, it’s better than an instant password failure.

If you follow the prompts when creating a password, you’ll be on your way to keeping all your accounts safe. Don’t forget to change your password every six months and not repeat passwords across multiple websites. You can also test your password and check it against AI.

Your passwords hold the key to everything from your Netflix account to your tax return, and you should ensure they’re always safe and secure.

Alex Kerai
Written by
Alex Kerai
Alex began writing for student newspapers and has managed to turn that into a career. During the COVID-19 pandemic, he wrote about small businesses for Biz2Credit and Business.org. Before that, he spent time in communications for higher education institutions, created marketing materials for nonprofits, and worked for entertainment companies in Los Angeles. Today, he reports on emerging consumer trends and his work can be seen on The Penny Hoarder, SafeWise, Business.org, Reviews.org, Move.org, WhistleOut.com, CableTV.com, HighSpeedInternet.com, and SatelliteInternet.com. When he's not writing, Alex watches too much TV, plays guitar, reads and writes fiction, and goes on nature walks.

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