You might be using a password that looks like everyone else’s password!
Passwords are a part of your life, they are not going away any time soon.
Here’s how to make a password that’s different, safer, better.
Don’t make your password look like everyone else’s
It’s interesting that most people have the same type of password. Oh, the letters and symbols might be different, but the way it’s put together is the same. You don’t think so? Okay does your password look like this? It starts with a capital letter, it has lower-case letters in the middle, and numbers and/or special characters at the end.
Some of mine were exactly like that, it’s funny how we somehow gravitated towards that format.
A password formatted like that is easier to guess because a hacker doesn’t have to try every possibility, they can filter your guesses based on this format.
Instead, mix up your password upper case/lower case/symbols, or use a random password generator. Another option is to use a password phrase (eg: “the lazy brown dog”) rather than just a word.
Make it 11 characters long
You may have heard 6 characters, or 9 characters. In today’s world make it 11. For an article in ARS Technica they brought in 3 password crackers and 16,000 encrypted passwords. They let them at the password list and these hackers figured out every password that was 6 characters or less in just a few minutes. Yes, you read that correctly – minutes!
Don’t use the same password everywhere
I would hope that you’ve heard about this one enough times to finally listen. You MUST use different passwords for different websites. Your password for your banking site had better not be the same password you use for Facebook!
Don’t use words that mean something to you
Don’t use your birthdate in your password. Don’t put the name of your dog, or your house number. Don’t cop out and use your telephone number; “but it fits so nicely and it’s 10 digits!”. NO!
(side note: many people also use their telephone number as the password for their WIFI, I can often guess it – do you?)
Don’t use 1234 or 1111 or any easy combination of numbers on a keypad like 1793 or 123789.
Don’t use $ for “s” and 0 (zero) for “o”, or @ for “a” in your name or company – don’t you think hackers know about that and will try it?
Use random words
As the ARS Technica article concludes and recommends; use random words that don’t mean anything together.
Something like: “dog buffy 34 raindrop” or “fabulouS 44 mOUstache”
You can have fun with random words! Make something that you can remember because it is so whacked out!
“Smackdown Trippin 43 Momma”
“chairS 4 gumBALLS”
“solitary 1 Sabotage & Espionage!”
Think like a hacker, like someone who is going to try and get into your bank account. What might they know about you? What might they try as a password? Then, make sure you don’t use any of those passwords.
You can still use passwords that you can remember, like the whacked out random words, just don’t make them so obvious that someone could guess them.
What other tricks could make your password better, safer, and stronger? I’d love to hear your ideas.