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  • Writer's pictureBurton Kelso, Tech Expert

5 Ways Cyber-Criminals Can Get Your Passwords

Your passwords are the keys to unlock your entire digital life. Passwords protect everything from your credit cards, your bank account, emails, social media accounts and much more. You obviously need to protect them as much as you protect your valuable assets It's critical in this day and age to use sound practices to keep your sensitive personal information safe and secure. There are many ways hackers can get access to your passwords and it's important you know these techniques to keep yourself safe. Let's take a look at the most common ways criminals try to access your passwords.

1.Brute Force. One of the most common methods of stealing passwords is a brute-force attack. This happens when a cyber criminal manually or uses a computer program to rapidly run through every possible combination of your passwords until it's cracked. A long password is more secure than a short one. When you take the time to mix uppercase and lowercase characters, plus adding symbols and numbers, to your password, it helps make it harder to too. It's less common to see hackers use Brute Force to access passwords, but it's always a good idea to setup 2 factor authentication to keep your accounts safe.

2. Data Breaches. Data breaches occur when a company doesn't do a good job protecting it's customer's data. Many companies don't report data breaches so it's always important to visit the free Have I Been Pwned? website. All you need to do is to enter your email address and you'll see all the breaches your email address was found in. You can use the Notify me tab at the top to get an email when a new breach occurs, too.If you find that your email was compromised in any breaches, you should change your passwords for safety and to use unique passwords on all of your online accounts.

3. Phishing. Phishing is the most common way for criminals to get your passwords. Phishing emails are socially engineered to get you to react before you think about an email that comes in. Protect your passwords from these attacks by not clicking links in emails.

4. Spying. Snooping is yet another method for stealing a passwords. A shoulder surfer could look over your shoulder while you enter your phone's passcode to learn it.If you use a pattern lock on Android smart device, it's possible for someone to look at the fingerprints on your screen showing where you swiped it. Keylogger software, if installed on your computer can record every keystroke you make. This allows them to see what you typed into the password box on any website.Good news is any anti-virus software can identify when you have a key logger installed.

5. Guessing. Criminals can figure out your passwords if you create one using something close to you. For example, say your password is your dog's name and the year of your birth. If you've shared this information on social media, there's a fair chance someone could figure out your password.

Keep Your Accounts Safe. The most important way to protect against all these attacks is using a unique password for all of your online sites. That way, even if one gets stolen, your other accounts are still safe. Have your had your passwords stolen? What steps do you take to keep your online information safe?

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If you need on-site or remote tech support for your Windows\Macintosh, computers, laptops, Android/Apple smartphone, tablets, printers, routers, smart home devices, and anything that connects to the Internet, please feel free to contact my team at Integral. My team of friendly tech experts are always standing by to answer your questions and help make your technology useful and fun. Reach out to us a or phone at 888.256.0829. 

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