Before sites routinely added password strength indicators to their sign-up pages, getting away with the name of your pet or your partner’s birthday was normal.
By now, we hope that most people have learned enough about passwords to realise the purpose of the game – stop hackers second guessing you, especially by picking up on personal information they can find elsewhere. We should all now understand the importance of creating something more unassailable than “cooldude123” or whatever awesome password you first created while you were in school and have been using on every account ever since.
Passwords are more important to us than ever. In fact, 11% of UK citizens even put online passwords in their wills. Below are some tips to help create an ultra-secure password. Whether you are creating a password for yourself or you’re an IT administrator setting the minimum password requirements for employees, here are the key factors to consider.
Make Sure It’s Not on This List
Here is a list of the top 500 worst passwords of all time according to Symantec. A good initial test is to ensure your password or something similar isn’t already on this list. These are some of the first passwords a hacker will use to try to gain access to your accounts.
Make Them Unique
The average person uses about ten online passwords per day, so it’s easy to see why we can fall into bad habits and start re-using passwords across multiple different logins. It’s important to avoid this since if someone gains access to one of your accounts, they will often quickly try other common sites to see if you’ve used the same password there as well.
A study by the University of California, Berkeley showed that as many as 70% of users do not use a unique password for each website they visit. Make sure you aren’t part of the statistic!
Use a Password Manager
A Microsoft study revealed that a quarter of Brits forget their online passwords on a regular basis. If you are finding it hard to remember all those passwords, a password manager like LastPass can be a great solution. These programs can store all of your passwords and allow you to access all of your common sites with just a single master password, no matter what device you’re on. Just make sure the password manager you select is from a reputable company.
What Does a Good Password Look Like?
A secure password should ideally be at least 12 characters long. The longer the better, and length is more important than complexity for keeping hackers out.
Passphrases are a better form of security than passwords. You use an abbreviation of a sentence like “my dog has big feet with five toes on each” to create a password like “Mdhbfw5toe”. Come up with something that’s meaningful and easily memorable to you, but just looks like gibberish to anyone else.
If you don’t want to use gibberish as your password, you can make a password from 3 or more random words. You can even use objects around your room as a prompt, such as making your password “thepictureframeabovemycomputerisblack”. The less common the words you select, the more secure your password will be. Avoid choosing common or well-known lyrics or quotes such as “ihaveadream” though.
Different Character Types
To make your password even more secure, mix up your passphrase to include a combination of both upper and lower case letters, as well as numbers and special symbols (!,%,$). You don’t have to overdo it to the point that your password becomes difficult to remember, but try to use at least 3 out of the 4 different character types.
If you’ve come up with a complex password but still worry about your security, you may want to activate 2-factor authentication if your website or program offers it. Most online platforms today from web hosting to Twitter allow you to add an extra method of authentication, such as having to verify your login using your mobile phone after entering your password.
Contact Pisys.net today to find out how we can work with you to ensure your business and your business practices are safe and secure.