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Is Your Password Secure Enough?
There’s a good reason why Netflix warns users to change their passwords. When successful giants like LinkedIn, Google, eHarmony, Yahoo and many others have had problems with security breaches and cracked passwords, they should seriously consider creating stronger passwords. In this new age of cybercrime, no one is safe from potential hacking attacks and keyloggers. Typing “wrong” or “don’t know” as passwords may be humorous to some, but they are extremely vulnerable. And security is by no means a laughing matter. If you think these passwords are bad, check out our list of the 10 worst and weakest passwords on the web*:
123456 (#1 for the 3rd year in a row)
password (#2 for the third year in a row)
Of course, there are more secure password creation methods, but still, when it comes to the massive digital breaches of late, we can do more than just avoid “popular” clichés like “qwerty123” or “loveme123456.” Six-letter passwords also do not withstand high-quality cracking software. So 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 quickly mine an unsuspecting victim’s professional or personal information. Millions of password leaks are reported all the time, but many simply refuse to understand why password length and complexity are so important.
A password of at least eight characters is considered, in some circles, sufficient. But we recommend you consider 16 to 20 characters or more. You should create passwords that are easy to remember sentences, random phrases, or even song lyrics, because these should be more than enough to keep your networks and devices safe.
Thinking outside the box is key. Even if popular articles offer unique ideas for your password, it’s not a good idea to use them on your own. Invent your own pattern that only you remember. Hackers are usually up to date with the latest trends. They are aware of popular patterns and are happy to try out these password hints.
There are plenty of Star Wars fans in the world who have a solid knowledge of the franchise and the universe. Hackers know this. They also know that, for example, “maytheforcebewithyou” is a common evaluation when trying to crack someone’s password.
Master Yoda recommends using a standard mix of uppercase letters, symbols, and numbers. However, this practice is complicated and you should not use the same complex password for all your accounts. If thieves get hold of one password, you can bet they’ll use it on your other accounts.
Additionally, a 2013 research study by Korelogic for the federal Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency reports that there is a common pattern in the uppercase, symbol, and number passwords that people use. The pattern looks like this: the first character is uppercase, then 5 or 6 lowercase, then 3 numbers or the year of birth. Common mistakes include capitalizing the first letter, ending the password with an exclamation mark, and not spacing out numbers between characters.
Our advice would be to use multi-word phrases of around 16 characters or more, made up of random words. For example, “correcthorsebatterystaple”, which consists of four common English words, but is considered so random that any hacking script would take 550 years to decipher it at 1000 guesses per second.**
Do you write down passwords?
They don’t even cut notebooks. Unique passwords are strong, so people usually write them down. Many people make the mistake of leaving notes with credit card passwords in their wallets or drawers. While cyber thieves don’t have the technology to access your pieces, your family members, roommates, colleagues, tech staff, and others do. And it’s probably against business security best practices.
This is where password manager programs can help. The simple software uses the master password method to store your priceless passwords with a single phrase. You can create extremely secure and unique passwords, and you only need to remember one password to retrieve them. Programs like 1Password, Keepass, Dashlane, LastPass, Sticky Password, and others can save valuable information and, ultimately, time and money.
Change your password
It should be noted that this is not the most correct 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 password. You should only change your password if there has been a massive security breach on the website or service, so you should be up-to-date with the latest news.
Security questions are just as important. The strongest password can and will be cracked by a weak security response. The questions are usually your mother’s maiden name, the city you were born in, and disaster can happen if hackers have this information. All of this can be easily accessed via Facebook or other remaining information on social media, depending on your privacy settings.
something to consider
In summary, there is no foolproof method for creating an absolutely secure password. We can only do our best to strengthen these passwords and protect our networks and vital information.
– Always create unique passwords with a memorable combination of words, symbols and numbers that don’t look like common patterns like “Doolittle1982!” or “7LittlePiglets#”.
Always use long, 16-character passwords that are complex but easy to remember
Never include your name, address or year in your password
Consider using a password manager
If you don’t live alone, don’t write passwords on sticky notes
Avoid using combinations of 12345 numeric strings
Avoid using the top 25 worst passwords, according to SlashDot
* “Worst Passwords of 2016” from SplashData
** TheVerge.com article “Password Best Practices”
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