Researchers: Most passwords are too short

Increased computing power has made it easier for hackers to crack passwords and steal data. But companies and users aren’t keeping up.

As computers get faster, that means criminals have access to better password-cracking tools. That makes even carefully chosen passwords susceptible to brute force attacks.

The best defense is using longer passwords. A computer keyboard has 95 keys, so each extra character makes the password 95 times harder to crack.

Analysts at the Georgia Tech Research Institute recommend a password of no fewer than 12 characters.

Of course, users should also avoid choosing common words to prevent so-called “dictionary” attacks, in which hackers run through a list of dictionary words until the password is found.

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