How Strong is Your Password?
What is the importance of passwords?
With the number of Internet users constantly on the rise, maintaining the safety of your profiles, accounts and databases is becoming more and more of a challenge! As a company or a business occupant, the last thing you need is your passwords being cracked or even worse, your information being leaked.
What is it that keeps hackers away from your enclosed data? Passwords & pins… Is this really the best safety precaution we can put in place in the 21st century? Unfortunately, yes and that is why it’s crucial your password is as challenging as it can possibly be!
So, now you’re probably questioning yourself, are you passwords secure enough to keep the villains out? Well, if you’re fortunate enough that your account has remained unchallenged you must be doing something right!
What is classed as a good password?
Quite often you’ll be told how strong your password is on signing up or setting up a profile… although you may be told your password is strong when that may not be the case. What dictates whether your password is strong or not is an automatic system. Often judged based on the length of the password and how many numbers you include, as the system doesn’t actually scan your password it has no real idea how secure you will be! A perfect example would be 123456; a six character password, formed using individual characters – pretty strong, right? Absolutely not! ‘123456’ was the TOP most used password of 2014!
Of course, there are no charts for the strongest passwords of 2014 or any year for that matter! So, you’re probably wondering how to craft a secure password? Well, let’s not be silly, if we were to tell you a password, would it be secure?
Every password should consist of AT LEAST 10 characters – the more the merrier! The characters you include shouldn’t all be letters or numbers for that matter… Your password should consist of capital letters, lower case letters, numbers and symbols. Avoid using names or personal information such as a date of birth.
Following on, avoid using anything related to the company, business or purpose of the password. Avoid: Companyname1. This is far too obvious! People are clever and if they know anything about you, your password will become predictable…
To help you draft some ideas, let’s give you a few strong password examples – DO NOT USE THESE EXAMPLES.
The majority of people will have 1 or 2 passwords that they use. Let’s be honest, we all have that one go to password that is used for signing up for anything & everything. That has to stop! If someone cracks one of your passwords, they’ve effectively cracked all of your passwords! One problem leads to another and for the sake of cross-using passwords, it’s really not worth it…
Cross-using a password is one of the most commonly occurring mistakes and it’s crucial you aren’t the next to repeat this dangerous move. If by any chance you have already made this mistake, its essential you go back to it and amend it – sooner rather than later…
Avoiding this problem is one safety precaution & remembering your list of passwords often forms another problem… The last thing anyone wants is to be locked out & unless you keep note of your passwords and what they’re for you will be caged out! It’s a good idea to create an Excel document and save it in various locations.
Poor example of passwords – stay away!
Going back to what we said earlier, AVOID using personally related words, names and numbers – if an intruder knows enough about you, your password is possibly breachable.
The majority of people have done it in the past and the chances are that includes you… You may not have had any problems up to now but there’s a first time for everything & is it really worth it?
The Do’s and Dont’s:
- Avoid using ‘1’ at the end of your password (example: password1)
- Avoid using ‘qwerty’
- Avoid using ‘abc’ (example: abc123)
- Avoid using your company name as a password
- Avoid using the same password twice
- Avoid using repeating characters
- Ensure you use a mixture of symbols
- Ensure you use random numbers through your password
- Ensure you use a mixture of capitalised and lower case characters
- Use a password generator to develop a strong password
- Trial various tools to test the strength of your new password
- Keep your passwords secure using Excel documents
- Be cautious of links asking for logins & personal information unless you’re certain the link is legitimate