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Security experts fight back against password thieves

26 May 2015 - 15:07 by Graham Miller

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Having a strong password is an essential part of ensuring that it is possible to carry out safe shopping online. And there are many other services which require a password that prevents unwanted third party access to sensitive information, which is why cyber criminals are persistently attempting to steal them from unsuspecting web users.

However, the fight back against this practice is being stepped up by a group of researchers at an American university, according to TechWeek Europe.

A system has been created to trick hackers into thinking that they have cracked a particular password, with the upshot being that it is possible to track their activities and work out exactly what the malicious third parties were attempting to access.

Hackers will be deluged with what they believe are legitimate passwords, whereas in reality, the system is providing them with a huge number of fake ones instead. 

Hackers will be fooled into thinking that their work has been successful, whereas they have simply got their hands on a lot of useless information, which it will take them a long time to sift through.

Of course, when the ‘stolen’ passwords are used, they will not work for the hacker but an alert system will notify the administrators and allow them to find out exactly what the hacker is trying to achieve.

From the point of view of consumers, this development may be beneficial as it should help retailers keep their passwords safe from theft and improve safe shopping online. But it is still important to remember that weak passwords can simply be guessed by crooks and thus by using one, you are exposing yourself to a range of threats.

Different sites have different rules about what passwords must contain, but a random mixture of numbers and characters is safer than using a loved one’s birthday or any other piece of information that might be attainable elsewhere.