Did you ever wonder “How did someone get into my account?” after a website or email hack?
Sometimes it’s a piece of software exploiting the site or application, but other times it is simply your password is extremely easy to hack. The attacker’s software basically guessed it by testing lots of different possibilities really, really quickly.
“But my password is unique, there’s no way they would guess it!”
No, they aren’t guessing it really. But with the power of a computer they can calculate it pretty easily, if it isn’t secure.
Check out an online password security meter, such as: https://howsecureismypassword.net/.
“I use my email so often. I have to have something I can remember – ‘password’ is okay to use….”
No. It isn’t. That would be worked out INSTANTLY.
|“Your password looks like it could be a dictionary word or a name. If it’s a name with personal significance it might be easy to guess. If it’s a dictionary word it could be cracked very quickly”
“Your password is quite short. The longer a password is the more secure it will be.”
Another common password is qwerty
|“It’s still too short”
“Your password is very commonly used. It would be cracked almost instantly”
A surprisingly-common and obvious password is 123456789
“Your password only contains numbers. This reduces the number of possible combinations dramatically.”
“Your password looks like it might be a telephone number or a date. If it is and it has personal significance then it might be very easy for someone to guess.”
Passwords are frequently used by people over a couple of different sites, or with minor substitutions, so this causes further vulnerabilities.
There are a couple of ways to keep life simple and boost the security of your password…
1. Pick a long password of 16 or more characters avoiding real words (places, names, dictionary words…) and use a mixture of capitalization and characters.
For example, from https://passwordsgenerator.net/ I generated : f)7rC;8$FQuV!s?Q
|“It would take a computer about 41 TRILLION YEARS to crack your password”
This might be difficult for a person to remember without using a Password Management Tool.
2. Take a sentence and turn it into a password.
The sentence can be anything personal and memorable for you. Take the words from the sentence, then abbreviate and combine them in unique ways to form a password.
“The Grand Old Duke of York, he had 10,000 men!” could become : TG0doYRK,h3Hd10Kmn!
|Feedback: “It would take a computer about 36 QUINTILLION YEARS to crack your password”|
3. Pick 12 random words.
This takes a bit of memory power without a Password Manager but if you can remember 12 words, once they are not from common literature, they will be a challenge to solve.
Fish find growing giants drag dogs under umbrellas when whales break books
I simplified this so that each couplet of words have the same starting letter.
|“It would take a computer about 78 OCTOTRIGINTILLION YEARS to crack your password”|
4. Pick identifiable items that are unconnected.
It can be easier to remember words if you connect unconnected memorable words. For example,
Beyonce smashed Godzilla with her frequently flier miles to Stop him Picking dandelions.
|“It would take a computer about 6,450,163,581,828,460,000,000 QUADRAGINTILLION YEARS to crack your password”|
Use a password management tool to help you coordinate all those lovely passwords especially those that you aren’t using on a daily basis.