BeCyberSmart: How Fast Can a Hacker Break YOUR Password?

October 6, 2023 12:00 PM

Center for Information Technology

2023 Password Cracking Times: Faster Than You Think!
No. of Characters Numbers Only Lowercase Letters Upper and Lowercase Letters Numbers, Upper and Lowercase Letters Numbers, Upper and Lowercase Letters, Symbols
4 Instantly Instantly Instantly Instantly Instantly
5 Instantly Instantly Instantly Instantly Instantly
6 Instantly Instantly Instantly Instantly Instantly
7 Instantly Instantly 1 sec 2 secs 4 secs
8 Instantly Instantly 28secs 2 mins 5 mins
9 Instantly 3 secs 24 mins 2 hours 6 hours
10 Instantly 1 min 21 hours 5 days 2 weeks
11 Instantly 32 mins 1 month 10 months 3 years
12 1 sec 14 hours 6 years 53 years 226 years
13 5 secs 2 weeks 332 years 3k years 15k years
14 52 secs 1 year 17k years 202k years 1m years
15 9 mins 27 years 898k years 12m years 77m years
16 1 hour 713 years 46m years 779m years 5bn years
17 14 hour 18k years 2bn years 48bn years 380bn years
18 6 days 481k years 126bn years 2tn years 26tn years

The Importance of Strong Passwords

Passwords are the first line of defense in protecting access to personal accounts and sensitive information online. A strong, unique password is crucial for the security of your digital profile. Unfortunately, with the convenience of digital technology comes the risk of hacking and data breaches. Employing a robust password is a simple, yet vital step to safeguard your digital identity.

Oberlin’s ObieID Password Policy

To enhance security for the Oberlin community, we’ve implemented a password policy for ObieID accounts. Here are the specifications for creating a strong ObieID password:

  • The longer, the better: A password that is longer than 14 characters is ideal for optimum security.
  • Must include at least:
    • One lower-case letter.
    • One upper-case letter.
    • One number (0–9).
    • One symbol (e.g., !@#$%^&*).
  • Cannot include:
    • Part of the ObieID username.
    • User’s first name.
    • User’s last name.

This policy ensures that each ObieID password is complex and unique, making it difficult for cybercriminals to guess or crack your password through brute force attacks or other malicious methods.

Tips for Creating Strong Passwords

Beyond adhering to Oberlin’s password policy, consider the following general tips for creating and managing strong passwords:

  • Use a passphrase: Consider using a passphrase—a sequence of words and other characters—rather than a simple word. This creates a longer password that’s harder to crack but can still be memorable.
  • Avoid common words and phrases: Steer clear of using easily guessable passwords like “password”, “123456”, or “qwerty”. These are often the first options cybercriminals try.
  • Update regularly: Change your passwords periodically. If a password is compromised, updating it can help protect your account from unauthorized access.
  • Use a password manager: Remembering multiple strong passwords can be challenging. A password manager can generate and store complex passwords for you, significantly enhancing your online security.

Secure Your Digital World

Taking the time to create a strong password is a fundamental step in securing your digital life. With Oberlin’s ObieID password policy and these general password tips, you’ll be well on your way to protecting your accounts and personal information from cyber threats.

Stay tuned for more BeCyberSmart tips throughout Cybersecurity Awareness Month!