Password is not a Password. #BeCyberSmart Cybersecurity Awareness Month 2022


In October, the University of South Alabama Office of Information Security (InfoSec) will recognize and participate in National Cyber Security Awareness Month (NCSAM). NCSAM is a month out of the year in which the cybersecurity professional community comes together to focus on cybersecurity and encourage others to exercise proper cyber hygiene.  The Department of Homeland Security and the National Cyber Security Alliance have sponsored NCSAM since its inception in 2004.

From mobile to connected home devices, technology is becoming more intertwined with our lives everyday. And while the evolution of technology is moving at the speed of sound, cybercriminals are working just as hard to find ways to compromise technology and disrupt personal and business life. Cybersecurity Awareness Month aims to highlight some of the emerging challenges that exist in the world of cybersecurity today and provide straightforward actionable guidance that anyone can follow to create a safe and secure digital world for themselves and their loved ones.

For 2022, USA InfoSec will focus on strengthening passwords used to protect our accounts and information.  The tools used by cybercriminals to crack passwords and compromise accounts are rapidly improving, and password length and complexity best practices that were deemed sufficient just a couple of years ago now offer little to no protection.      

Every Friday in October, the InfoSec team will be at the USA Student Center from 11am – 1pm to hand out free t-shirts and to encourage students and employees to create stronger passwords.  We will also have laptop computers with us to assist in changing passwords on site, and everyone who creates a stronger password consistent with current best practices will be entered into a weekly drawing to win USA t-shirts, hoodies, or other gear.

For more information about Cybersecurity Awareness Month 2022 and how to participate in a wide variety of activities, visit You can also follow and use the official hashtag #BeCyberSmart on social media throughout the month.

Time It Takes a Hacker to Brute Force Your Password in 2022

Number of Characters Number Only Lowercase Letters Upper and Lower Case Letters Numbers, Upper and Lowercase Letters Numbers, Upper and Lowercase Letters, Symbols
4 Instantly Instantly Instantly Instantly Instantly
5 Instantly Instantly Instantly Instantly Instantly
6 Instantly Instantly Instantly Instantly Instantly
7 Instantly Instantly 2 secs 7 secs 31 secs
8 Instantly Instantly 2 mins 7 mins 39 mins
9 Instantly 10 secs 1 hour 7 hours 2 days
10 Instantly 4 mins 3 days 3 weeks 5 months
11 Instantly 2 hours 5 months 3 years 34 years
12 2 secs 2 days 24 years 200 years 3k years
13 19 secs 2 months 1k years 12k years 202k years
14 3 mins 4 years 64k years 750k years 16m years
15 32 mins 100 years 3m years 46m years 1bn years
16 5 hours 3k years 173m years 3bn years 92bn years
17 2 days 69k years 9bn years 179bn years 7tn years
18 3 weeks 2m years 467bn years 911tn years 438tn years