Some experts agree that using insecure or weak passwords is worse than using no passwords at all. This is because the weak passwords give an illusion of security to the users. It is akin to using a very cheap padlock to secure your showroom and then sleeping with comfort thinking that your business is safe.
When you are using a weak password, the hackers are going to break in with ease using dictionary attack or the brute-force attack. A weak password often comprises of dictionary words, names of people or places, is very short in length, and does not contain any numerals or special characters.
If you have been using one or more passwords under the assumption that they are very secure, then you should check them and find out if they are really secure. Using a freeware tool Alternate Dictionary, we can quickly test a password by matching it against a huge list of thousands of known weak passwords.
Here is how we can check for an insecure password:
- Download Alternate Dictionary from http://www.alternate-tools.com/pages/c_dictionary.php?lang=ENG and install it on your Windows PC.
- Download Insecure Passwords dictionary file from http://www.alternate-tools.com/files/Dictionary_InsecurePasswords.exe and install it too.
- Launch Alternate Dictionary, press Ctrl+O hotkey and select the insecure passwords dictionary file insecure_passwords.adc that was installed in step 2. Usually it is located in the folder C:\Program Files\Alternate Dictionary\.
- Now you can type in your password in the “Term” text field and click on the Search button. In a few seconds, you will see the results in the explanation section. For each of the matching results, you will see why that password is weak.
We can export the results to a file or copy them to the clipboard. The insecure passwords file used here contains nearly 1000K insecure passwords and perhaps contains all the possible combinations of weak passwords used. If it finds your password matching in the result, you should immediately change your passwords and start using much stronger ones.