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Proof You Should Change Your Passwords Immediately

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HACK THE PLANET
DailyFeed
Do me a favor. Pick up the phone and call your mother. Tell her that she needs to change all her online passwords. If she resists, begin reciting her children's names and favorite hobbies until you hit upon her banking password. And if all else fails, just say "12345678" and hang up the phone.

By the next day, she'll have a brand new set.

But left to their own devices, most online users will choose the easiest and most hackable passwords -- forgoing numerous rules or patterns to create complex strings. Worse yet, they'll use the very same password across multiple sites and programs, so that the head of a Packers message board also has the password for your Capital One account.

In fact, according to Bloomberg, 50% of users choose a common word or simple key combination for passwords. Most common: 123456, password, 12345678, qwerty, and abc123. In other words, a hacker could just roll his knuckles across the left side of the keyboard and have a good chance of accessing someone's bank account.

It's imperative that everyone improve their password with a simple code or guideline. Lifehacker provides a couple tips here. Underscoring this necessity, Bloomberg reported that by adding only a few upper-case letters and number or symbol or two, you greatly decrease the likelihood of a nefarious cybercriminal guessing your passwords.

Here's the time it takes a program to guess your password based on character length and complexity:

Length: 6 characters
Lowercase: 10 minutes
+ Uppercase: 10 hours
+ Nos. & Symbols: 18 days

Length: 7 characters
Lowercase: 4 hours
+ Uppercase: 23 days
+ Nos. & Symbols: 4 years

Length: 8 characters
Lowercase: 4 days
+ Uppercase: 3 years
+ Nos. & Symbols: 463 years

Length: 9 characters
Lowercase: 4 months
+ Uppercase: 178 years
+ Nos. & Symbols: 44,530 years
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