April 11, 2024

7 Great Password Tips On How To Make a Secure Password

Password
safety – you’ve heard it all before and you’re probably tired of
hearing about it, but it’s something that we cannot emphasize enough:
creating a weak password is like leaving all of your doors unlocked.
Just because you have never been robbed before doesn’t mean that it’s
safe to leave your doors unlocked, does it? It only takes that one time
for you to lose everything, and the same is true for your email
accounts, bank accounts, and whatever other valuable accounts that you
possess.  
 

Nobody wants to try to remember
20 unique passwords for 20 different accounts, and that is why many of
us decide to reuse the same password across multiple sites. However,
although this is very convenient, it can backfire spectacularly. If a
cyber criminal gets access to one of your accounts, they automatically
have access to all of your accounts. Therefore, with cybercrime getting
more and more common, having a different password for each account is
absolutely essential.

Maybe one day, with our
ever-increasing technology, we’ll move beyond passwords and usernames,
but for the time being, it’s absolutely critical to strengthen your weak
passwords. It takes little effort on your part, and trust us, you don’t
want to be the one who loses everything only to realize that all of
your problems could’ve been prevented with just a few simple tweaks.

The Worst Passwords of 2015

It’s not easy to determine the
“worst” passwords being used as passwords are kept hidden and secret.
However, in 2016 a company called SplashData went to the bother of
tallying up over 2 million leaked passwords from 2015, evaluated them,
and compiled them into a ranking of “Worst Passwords of 2015”. Below are
the worst 15:

1. 123456
2. password
3. 12345678
4. qwerty
5. 12345
6. 123456789
7. football
8. 1234
9. 1234567
10. baseball
11. welcomes
12. 1234567890
13. abc123
14. 111111
15. 1qaz2wsx

As you can see, these really are
bad. If you have one of the aforementioned passwords, you might as well
not have a password at all. A hacker would have a field day with your
accounts if you have passwords this simple. Also, if you think that your
password is safe because it doesn’t appear on that list, you’d best
think again. These passwords are extremely bad because they all have the
same characteristics of easily-hacked passwords, and it’s possible that
your own password does too.

So let us take a look at what makes these passwords terrible and what you can do to ensure that all your accounts are safe.

1. The Obvious Password
 

Commonly used password


Seven of the worst offenders in
the list above are all slight variations of the same basic password:
consecutive numbers. People use this type of password because it is easy
to remember and super easy to type – which is why qwerty is also on the
list. But, your password isn’t meant to be easy! Using obvious
consecutive number passwords – one that took you seconds to come up with
– is just asking for trouble. In fact, many cyber criminals have access
to automated hacking programs that try these common number passwords in
order to hack into your accounts.

2. The Default Password

It’s astounding that “password”
is used as often as it is. This is the default password for most
devices, but it’s expected that the user will change it to something
secure. However, it seems that a lot of people are lazy and either
refuse or forget to change it. Therefore, if you have kept the default
password as it is, it would take no effort for a hacker to break into
your account and help themselves to whatever they want. 

Here’s some advice: if you get a new device or account and you get given a default username and password – such as admin/password or admin/admin – do yourself a huge favor and change it immediately.

3. The Short Password

The longer the BETTER

Length is important when it
comes down to password size. Every extra character – be it a letter,
number or symbol – expands the possibility space and makes your password
harder to crack. Therefore, nothing is worse than a short password, and
this is made evident when you take a look at the list of rubbish
passwords – only 2 of them have more than 8 characters, and 8 is even
too short nowadays for real protection.

So, make your password longer!
Yes, longer than what you’ve got already! If you’re wondering whether
your password is long enough…it probably isn’t. Chuck on a couple of
extra characters at the end.

4. The “No Numbers or Symbols” Password

Generally speaking, a longer
password consisting of only letters is better than a shorter password
with letters, symbols and numbers. However, longer passwords that
incorporate letters, numbers and symbols are even better.

The reason behind this is that
you want to maximize the number of possible choices for every single
character in your password. If you have only used letters, that’s 26
possible choices per character while if you use numbers, symbols and
letters, that’s 46 possible choices per character – this difference has
an exponential impact.

5. The “L33T SP34K” Password

If you’re thinking about using
symbols and numbers in your password, there is one caveat you should be
aware of: if your password has complete words, don’t make simple
letter-to-number or letter-to-symbol substitutions for individual
characters.

For example, in cableCABLE, don’t replace the a with @, the l with 1, the A with 4 or the E with 3. You might believe that c@b1eC4BL3 is a great password that is stronger than the original, but there’s a very high chance that is actually isn’t.

Cybercriminals know all the
tricks in the book, so if one is trying to hack into your accounts,
they’re going to try these substitutions anyway.

6. The “Personal Information” Password 

Through Personal Information

Whenever you’re trying to come
up with a new password, we must stress that you should never ever use
any personal information. A great password should have no relation to
you at all.

For example, a lot of people
like football and baseball, both of which can be seen on the list above.
If you’re a big fan or either sport, it would be pretty trivial to
guess.

Nowadays, thanks to social media
profiles, personal details are available at the click of a finger, and
this kind of access makes it a lot easier for hackers to guess weak
passwords.

7. The Pattern Password

A lot of people tend to memorize
their passwords by using muscle memory, so whenever they need to come
up with a new password for a new account, it’s always tempting for them
to rely on some kind of keyboard pattern. There’s absolutely nothing
wrong with this as long as you do it properly. After all, muscle memory
is an effective way to memorize long passwords that are otherwise
nonsensical. However, please never resort to over simplistic patterns
such as 1qaz2wsx, qwerty, or qwertyuiop. 

So, What Makes a Good Password?

You should have a good idea as
to what makes a good password by now, but read the following criteria
just to make extra sure – it won’t do you any harm.

  • It should be at least 8 characters long.
  • It should contain special characters such as #,@,$,%, & and/or numbers.
  • It shouldn’t contain words found in the dictionary.
  • It should use a variation of upper and lower case letters.
  • It must not contain personal
    information such as your date of birth, phone number, spouse’s name,
    pet’s name, kid’s name, or login name.

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