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iloveyou: 3 seconds is all it takes to hack this password

Published on 27-09-2023 14:45
Follow these tips to strengthen your passwords and protect yourself against cybercrime.
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Are your passwords strong enough? Use at least 12 characters!

Hacks often come about as a result of cracked or stolen passwords. Using computers with strong processing power and password cracking dictionaries, criminals can quickly uncover weak passwords. As such, it’s crucial that you choose a strong and different password for each of your accounts. Strong passwords consist of at least 12 characters and must also meet certain other requirements. Make sure to change your passwords annually and never reuse them! You can use a password manager to help you create and remember your passwords.

A strong password for your UvAnetID meets the following requirements:

  • It should consist of at least 12 characters and use at least 1 number, 1 upper-case letter, 1 lower-case letter and 1 special character. The longer, the better!
  • The password should not be reused for any other website or account.
  • The password should not contain any personal information. That means you should not use names or dates of birth of any family members or pets. Do not create passwords that resemble your email address, UvAnetID or username.
  • Ideally, it should be a phrase of at least 12 characters (using 1 number, 1 upper-case letter, 1 lower-case letter and 1 special character), preferably longer.
  • Pick a phrase that’s easy for you to remember, but difficult for others to guess. For example: I*Had*2*Croissants*For*Breakfast.
  • You should change the entire password every year, not just one letter or character!
  • You’ll automatically receive an annual reminder to change your UvAnetID password. You can’t reuse any of the 10 passwords you last used for your UvAnetID..

If your password isn't as strong as you thought, change it!

Change your UvAnetID password

Why use different passwords for each account?

This way, if a cybercriminal manages to crack one of your passwords, they won’t automatically be able to access more than one of your accounts.

Why use such long passwords with various types of characters?

Using computers with strong processing power and password cracking dictionaries – which list the most commonly used passwords – cybercriminals can uncover weak passwords quickly and easily. These cracking dictionaries also list the most common replacements of letters with special characters, such as using @ or 4 instead of the letter A. This allows cybercriminals to test thousands, if not millions, of passwords on an account in no time at all.

Creating and remembering passwords using a password manager

Generating and remembering all those password phrases can be demanding on your memory. If you use a password managerExternal link, you’ll only need to create and remember a single strong password, as this piece of software can generate new strong passwords for you.

Examples of password managers include 1password, bitwarden, dashlane and keepass. Bitwarden can be used for free.

Check whether you’ve been hacked. If the answer is yes, change your password immediately!

Cybercriminals often have access to databases with passwords obtained from hacks. That’s why it’s very important that you change your passwords regularly. The website haveibeenpwnedExternal link allows you to check whether you’ve been affected by a particular hack or data breach. If you’ve indeed been affected, make sure to change your password immediately and consider using two-factor authentication.

Set up two-factor authentication

For optimal security, you shouldn’t rely solely on a strong password, but you should also use two-factor authentication, which is essentially adding another lock to the door. Read about how to set up two-factor authentication for social mediaExternal link.

Never share your passwords

Last but not least, never share your passwords with anyone else. Sharing your UvAnetID password with others is strictly prohibited!