AI vs. Human: The Battle for Password Security

AI-powered password attacks present a serious threat to human security and password protection. With AI technology continually advancing, it is imperative to explore alternate authentication methods and AI-resistant security strategies to protect us from these dangers. The cybersecurity industry has an immense role in developing and deploying AI-driven security solutions, as well as encouraging proper password security protocols. 

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How AI cracks passwords: techniques and methods

Illustration: Milica M.

    Clearly, AI has a significant effect on password protection and human security, and this must be taken into consideration. To protect our digital assets, our privacy, and funds online, we must be ever vigilant. New threats are always evolving, and malicious actors are on the cusp of new breakthroughs all aimed at your business and personal data. That’s why AI can play a major role in helping us stay protected online, but it can also be a double-edged sword if we don’t educate ourselves on how to utilize it properly. 

    Introduction to AI and password protection 

    Using Artificial Intelligence algorithms such as machine learning and deep learning, one can teach the system to detect patterns and make estimations based on huge datasets. With respect to password cracking, AI-driven tools can assess millions of already exposed passwords to recognize recurrent designs, for example, generally used words, character blends, and password architectures.  

    By understanding these patterns, AI-powered tools can invent and test potential passwords much faster than classic brute-force attacks, which try every single probable combination of characters. 

    Machine Learning algorithms used in attacks. Source:

    Machine Learning algorithms used in attacks. Source: 

    How AI cracks passwords: techniques and methods 

    AI technology can crack passwords using various techniques and methods, which can be broadly grouped into three categories: brute force attacks, dictionary attacks, and hybrid attacks. 

    • Brute Force Attacks: AI-powered brute force attacks utilize machine learning algorithms to systematically attempt all possible combinations of characters for a given password length. These algorithms become more efficient over time as they “learn” from previous attempts and prioritize character combinations that are more likely to succeed. This method is particularly effective against weak passwords with limited character sets and lengths. 
    • Dictionary Attacks: In a dictionary attack, AI systems use vast databases of known passwords, common phrases, and wordlists to generate potential password combinations. Machine learning algorithms can further optimize this process by analyzing patterns and correlations in password datasets, allowing them to predict and prioritize likely candidates. 
    • Hybrid Attacks: Hybrid attacks combine elements of both brute force and dictionary attacks. AI-powered hybrid attacks may use machine learning algorithms to generate password variations based on dictionary words, incorporating common substitutions and character combinations. This approach can be highly effective against passwords that employ common obfuscation techniques, such as replacing letters with similar-looking numbers or symbols. 

    AI cracks passwords at a much faster rate than traditional methods, posing significant challenges to password protection and human security. In the following sections, we will examine the implications of AI on password protection and explore potential solutions to mitigate these risks. 

    The future of human security in the age of AI 

    In the age of AI, the preservation of human security will be contingent on our capacity to accommodate and offset the hazards presented by AI. To guarantee this security, some potential plans include:  

    1. Investment in AI-based cybersecurity solutions: Companies ought to buy AI-based cybersecurity instruments and technologies to keep up with AI-related dangers and secure their digital resources.  

    2. Utilizing alternative authentication methods: As traditional password protection becomes less effective, corporations should investigate and utilize other authentication methods, such as multi-factor authentication, biometrics, and behavioral analytics.  

    3. Creating a culture of cybersecurity awareness: Companies should give emphasis to cybersecurity awareness and education for their personnel, equipping them with the expertise and abilities required to protect their individual information and the firm’s digital assets.  

    4. Encouraging the partnership between the cybersecurity industry and academia: To efficiently combat AI-related threats, the cybersecurity industry and academia should collaborate in research, development, and innovation endeavors, fostering the growth of new technologies and strategies to guard human security. 

    Alternatives to traditional password protection 

    As Artificial Intelligence becomes ever more efficient at deciphering passwords, it is essential to look for other security measures, especially for businesses handling users’ data and funds. Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) offers a compelling solution by requiring multiple forms of identification to authenticate a user, thus making it virtually impossible for machines to bypass.  

    Biometrics, such as fingerprints, facial recognition, and voice recognition, further bolster the security and are difficult for AI to replicate. Furthermore, behavioral analytics can track and study user behavior to identify any potential threats. Lastly, passwordless authentication, such as Single Sign-On (SSO) and mobile-based authentication, can eliminate the need for remembering and managing passwords, thus reducing the danger of AI-driven password attacks. 

    AI-resistant password protection strategies 

    While exploring alternatives to traditional password protection is crucial, it is also essential to develop AI-resistant password protection strategies. Some of these strategies include: 

    1.Creating strong, unique passwords: Users should create strong passwords that incorporate a mix of uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers, and special characters. They should also avoid using easily guessable information, such as names, dates, or common phrases, and ensure that each password is unique to each account. 

    2.Using password managers: Password managers can help users generate, store, and manage strong, unique passwords for their online accounts, reducing the likelihood of AI-driven password attacks. 

    3.Regularly updating passwords: Users should change their passwords regularly to minimize the risk of AI cracking their passwords over time. 

    4.Enabling account lockout policies: Organizations can implement account lockout policies that temporarily lock an account after a certain number of failed login attempts, making it more difficult for AI to crack passwords through brute force attacks. 

    5.Monitoring and responding to suspicious account activity: Users and organizations should proactively monitor their accounts for any suspicious activity, such as login attempts from unfamiliar locations or devices, and take immediate action to secure their accounts when necessary. 

    Countering cybersecurity threats with AI 

    AI cybersecurity has given us one of the most valuable achievements: the ability to alert users of potentially suspicious websites, like phishing sites. Social engineering attacks typically bring about the most extensive damage, making it paramount to utilize AI to recognize novel attacks before they even reach industry databases.  

    Moreover, cloud-based AI-driven cybersecurity provides more advanced protection than standard antiviruses and firewalls since they can be deployed on routers, shielding all the devices on a single network. Notably, around half of all connected devices are unable to support antivirus software, so AI becomes all the more significant. To conclude, AI-driven cybersecurity is essential to providing optimal protection against the growing scale of social engineering and IoT malware. 

    Future outlook 

    Finally, we must promote public knowledge of AI and password security to ensure our safety in the age of AI. The future of password protection and human security is a blend of opportunities and risks. AI-based threats are becoming more complex, yet the cybersecurity industry is leveraging AI to strengthen cyber-defense and safeguard human security. As we strive to adjust to the ever-changing AI and cybersecurity landscape, it is essential to collaborate to identify and reduce threats and create advanced solutions to protect human security in the digital age.  

    Dino Kurbegović is a project coordinator and an investor and technology enthusiast with years of experience in managing complex projects. His journey into content writing began in 2014, covering finance, investing, crypto, technology and complex technical topics.

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