ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10)- Longer passwords make it more difficult for hackers. If passwords include numbers, both upper and lowercase letters, as well as symbols, it gets even more difficult for hackers.

Just how difficult is it? A password with between four and six characters can be obtained by hackers instantly, according to the NYS Department of State Division of Consumer Protection, no matter if it includes numbers, upper/lowercase letters, symbols, or a combination of all four. It would take a hacker five months to decipher a 10-character password using all four types of characters and 3,000 years to figure out a 12-character password.

It gets worse for hackers. It would take 64,000 years for them to hack a 14-character password using just upper- and lower-case letters. To hack a 15-character password would take 3,000,000 years. Check out a graphic representing how long it takes for hackers to brute force a password based on the number of characters and characters used below.

Source: NYS Department of State Division of Consumer Protection

Innovative Technologies, a company in Malta, shared a list of the worst passwords from 2021. At the top of the list were “123456789,” “password,” and “qwerty.” “Password management is absolutely vital in protecting data,” said Owner, Paul Tracey.

The list was compiled based on how much the password is used and how often it’s for sale on the dark web, Tracey said. “Password management is one of the lowest cost implementations with massive benefits in cyber security, and the best part is you can start today for free by changing your passwords.”