Password entropy is an important concept in the realm of cybersecurity. Networks and computer systems, of course, are often protected with a password. If a hacker identifies your password, he or she may be able to access the respective network or computer system. A Data Breach Investigations Report conducted by Verizon found that 81% of all data breaches are the result of weak passwords. By understanding password entropy, however, you can create stronger passwords while minimizing your business’s risk of data breaches.

What Is Password Entropy

Password entropy is a measurement of the strength of a given password. Passwords, of course, can be considered strong or weak depending on how easy they are to guess. Strong passwords are difficult to guess, whereas weak passwords are easy to guess. Password entropy is simply a metric for password strength. It reveals how easy or difficult a password is to guess.

How is password entropy calculated exactly? There are different formulas for calculating it, some of which use different factors than others. Nonetheless, many password entropy formulas take into account the following information about the password:

  • The length of the password
  • The size of the password’s character set
  • The total number of bits as expressed by all available password possibilities

The Importance of Password Entropy

With so many data breaches stemming from weak passwords, you can’t ignore password entropy. Weak passwords can leave your business at risk for data breaches. A hacker may guess a weak password, after which he or she may steal some of your business’s sensitive data.

Brute-force attacks can expose your business’s passwords if they are weak. Some hackers may attempt to guess your business’s passwords manually. If a password is short or consists of a single common word, for instance, a hacker may guess it with little effort. But some hackers use brute-force attacks to guess passwords as well.

A brute-force attack is a type of cyber attack that targets a password-protected system. It’s designed to identify passwords by automatically attempting different combinations of letters and characters. Brute-force attacks are performed with software. A hacker will use software to spam letter and character combinations until he or she identifies the correct credentials.

Neglecting to create strong passwords could result in a brute-force attack. Hackers will be able to crack your business’s passwords more easily. They can configure software to target your business with a brute-force attack. As the software spams letters and characters, it may identify the password to an otherwise protected network or system.