There’s a good reason Netflix warns users to change their passwords. When successful giants like LinkedIn, Google, eHarmony, Yahoo and many more have had problems with security breaches and cracked passwords, one should seriously consider creating a stronger password. In this new era of cybercrime, no one is safe from possible attacks by hackers and keyloggers. Typing “wrong” or “I don’t know” as passwords may be fun for some, but they are extremely insecure. And security is by no means a laughing matter. If you think those passwords are bad, check out this list of the 10 Worst Insecure Passwords on the Internet*:
- 123456 (#1 for the third consecutive year)
- password (#2 for the third consecutive year)
- 1 2 3 4 5
- 1 2 3 4
Of course, there are methods to create a more secure password, but still, when it comes to massive digital breaches lately, we can do more than just avoid “popular” clichés like “qwerty123” or “loveme123456”. Six-letter passwords also don’t stand up to high-quality cracking software. Here are some things to consider when making your password more secure:
length and complexity
In this fast-paced digital age, today’s computers are extremely fast and efficient, compared to the machines of a decade ago. This means that today it is much easier for a cybercriminal or hacker to make quick work of an unsuspecting victim’s personal or professional information. Millions of password leaks are constantly being reported, but many simply refuse to understand why password length and complexity matter so much.
In some circles, a minimum of eight characters in a password is considered sufficient. But we recommend that you consider 16-20 characters or more. One should create passwords from easy to remember sentences, random phrases or even song lyrics as it should be more than enough for further security of their networks and devices.
Thinking outside the box is key. Even if popular articles suggest unique ideas for your password, it’s not a good idea to take them for granted. Invent your own pattern that only you will remember. Hackers tend to stay up to date on the latest trends. They are knowledgeable about popular patterns and will be more than happy to give these password hints a try.
There are plenty of Star Wars fans in the world with a solid understanding of the franchise and the universe. Hackers know this. They also know that “maytheforcebewithyou”, for example, is a common guess when trying to hack someone’s password.
Master Yoda would recommend using the standard combination of uppercase characters, symbols, and numbers. However, this practice is complex and you should not use the same strong password with all of your accounts. If the crooks get hold of a password, you can bet they’ll use it on your other accounts.
Additionally, a 2013 research study for the Federal Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, conducted by Korelogic, reports that there is a common pattern in the upper case, symbol, and number passwords people use. The pattern is like this: the first character is uppercase, followed by 5 or 6 lowercase letters, then 3 numbers or the year of birth. Common mistakes are capitalizing the first letter, ending the password with an exclamation point, and not spacing numbers between characters.
Our advice would be to use a multi-word phrase of approximately 16 characters or more, made up of random words. For example, “correcthorsebatterystaple”, which is made up of four common English words, but is considered so random that it would take 550 years at 1000 attempts per second for any hacking script to attempt to crack it.**
Are you typing your passwords?
Notepads won’t cut it either. Unique passwords are difficult, which is why people often write them down. Many people make the mistake of leaving notes with credit card passwords in their wallet or drawer. While cyber thieves don’t have the technology to access your pieces of paper, your family members, roommates, colleagues, maintenance staff and others do. And this probably goes against the best security practices of most companies.
This is where password management programs can help. The simple software uses a master password method to keep your valuable passwords in a single phrase. One can build extremely strong and unique passwords and only need to remember one password to recover them. Programs like 1Password, Keepass, Dashlane, LastPass, Sticky Password and others can save valuable information and ultimately time and money.
changing your password
It should be noted that this is not exactly the most suitable method to deal with cyber breaches. Changing it every 2-3 months is not always the best idea because you will have to remember each and every password. You should only change your password if there has been a massive security breach on the website or service, so keep up to date with the latest news.
Security issues are just as important. The strongest password can and will collapse due to a weak security response. The questions are usually her mother’s maiden name, the city she was born in, and catastrophe can occur if hackers have this information. All of which can easily be obtained through Facebook or other leftover information on social networks, depending on your privacy settings.
In short, there is no foolproof way to create an absolutely secure password. We can only make the effort to strengthen these passwords and protect our networks and vital information.
– Always create unique passwords with memorable combinations of words, symbols, and numbers that don’t resemble common patterns like “Doolittle1982!” or “7LittlePiglets#”.
- Always use long passwords of 16 characters that are complex enough but easy to remember.
- Never write your name, address or year in your password
- Consider using a password manager
- Unless you live alone, don’t write passwords on sticky notes.
- Avoid using string combinations of numbers 12345
- Avoid using the top 25 worst passwords, according to SlashDot
- * From SplashData “The Worst Passwords of 2016”
- ** TheVerge.com article “Best Practices for Passwords”