We do so much online – and in order to keep our information and conversations as secure as possible, we need good passwords.
The problem is, it’s easy to forget a strong password. Perhaps that’s why the most used password in 2018 was “123456.” The second was “password.”
If you’re using one of these passwords for social media, email or banking, I urge you to change it right now. Anyone, including an ex, could potentially access your private information if your password is not strong enough. Furthermore, skilled hackers have the ability to try approximately 8 million password combinations per second!
Change the password to what, you ask? Well here are some points you can use to help you create a strong password that you’ll actually remember.
There is a good chance that at some point, somebody could figure out your password. Therefore, the best way to limit exposure and vulnerability is to use a different password on each site you access. It can be inconvenient to you, but it’s also inconvenient to hackers or anyone else who wants to access your information without permission. That doesn’t mean you have to reinvent the wheel for every site; using variations of a password can help you remember them. For example: “ToasterPollyAmazon” and “ToasterPollyBank” allow you to keep the passwords similar while still keeping them different.
You should also change every password periodically. There is no perfect timeline, but make the change at least once or twice a year (and more frequently if they are less secure). Again, if it’s inconvenient to you, it’s inconvenient to someone else too.
Short passwords and one-word passwords are easier to figure out than passwords with a minimum of 12 characters. In keeping with this, adding numbers and using a phrase instead of words can make a huge difference, and also help you remember your password. For example: “3catscanread” would take about 4 years of brute force hacking to decipher where as “button” could be cracked instantly. If you want to check the strength of your passwords, here is an excellent free resource: http://howsecureismypassword.net/.
Common Sense Is An Asset
If you have a pet, a child, a favourite car, etc. and like to post pictures of them, don’t use them in your password. “SparkyLovesToRun” is only a strong password when you haven’t told the world how much your dog Sparky loves to run. Avoid using identifying information like your age, address, first or last name, known nicknames, favourite sports, pet names, children’s names, etc. Often, people that are looking to access your account do their homework, and if you have an online presence, they can see a lot about you.
Further to this, don’t tell others anything about your password. While you may share your password with your significant other, be sure to change it to something completely different if you break up or start a separation.
Write It Down – And Put It Away!
While I strongly suggest that you don’t create a word document called “All of my Passwords in 1 Place.doc”, there is nothing wrong with discreetly keeping a written list or booklet of your passwords in a safe place for you to go back to – if and when you forget one. This is the best way to maintain your own private backup.