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New study shows how scary fast today's AI is at cracking passwords

Passwords with more than 18 characters were deemed safe from AI password-cracking tools.

Published onApril 7, 2023

LastPass Security Manager
Joe Hindy / Android Authority
  • Cybersecurity firm Home Security Heroes published a study about AI and its ability to crack passwords.
  • A new AI password cracking tool is capable of cracking a majority of six-character passwords and under instantly.
  • Passwords with 12 characters or more are considered tough to crack, for now.

With the release of AI tools like Bing Chat and Bard, people are starting to realize how helpful AI can be to their daily lives. But as with most products used with bad intentions, there’s also a dark side to the technology to consider. One such potential misuse of AI is password cracking. A new study shows just how terrifyingly fast today’s AI can figure out your password.

The cybersecurity firm Home Security Heroes recently published a study about AI and password cracking. Specifically, the researchers looked into a new AI-powered password-cracking tool called PassGAN (password generative adversarial network).

In the study, the researchers used PassGAN to run through a list of over 15 million passwords. The results revealed that 51% of common passwords can be cracked in less than a minute, 65% in less than an hour, 71% in less than a day, and 81% in less than a month.

Additionally, the group provided the results of its findings in a table. As you can see in the image below, almost every password with six or fewer characters was instantly cracked. According to the organization, passwords greater than 18 characters are considered safe against tools like PassGAN. Based on the table, it would take at least ten months for the tool to figure out an 18-character password that only used numbers.

ai password cracking results
Home Security Heroes

If you want to keep your accounts safe from tools like these, the firm recommends using passwords with at least 15 characters. Those passwords should also use at least two letters, numbers, and symbols. It’s also important to avoid patterns — like “1234.” Finally, you should change your passwords regularly and avoid using the same password on other accounts.

While it can be a bit of a hassle, sticking to strong passwords can go a long way in keeping your data safe. And if you’re worried you’ll forget a password, you can always use a password manager.

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