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Is Your Password “Duh”?
Computerworld reports a recent study conducted by a professor at the University of Maryland in which four Linux computers left online for four days attracted 270,000 hacker intrusion attempts. On average, that’s one every 39 seconds.
Outside of this staggering statistic, the study also demonstrated the value of strong usernames and passwords. The professor found that most attacks were carried out by hackers using dictionary scripts, software that attempts to break into computers by running through lists of common usernames and passwords. With the aid of this tactic, about 825 hackers succeeded in entering the four test computers where they proceeded to change passwords and usernames, check installed software, and load the computer with malicious applications.
What usernames and passwords proved weakest? The dictionaries tried "root" in about 12.3% of their hacking attempts, followed by "admin" at 1.6%, “test” at 1.1%, and "guest" at 0.8%. About 43% of the time, the dictionaries tried the same username as password.
Obvious conclusions: wear cyber-armor when you venture online, avoid identical usernames and passwords, and make your usernames and passwords an unusual combination of letters and numbers.
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