For good measure
No password is an insurmountable obstacle for a skillful hacker, but the strong ones are light years away from those that involve real words and phrases. This brings us to the point that a password is not be-all and end-all of internet safety. It must be used in combination with other measures like encryption, two-factor authorization, advanced remote desktop software, background checks, protection from password-capturing malware, etc. A big part of your safety rests on the shoulders of service providers, so weigh your choices carefully.
Still, a good password is a big leap towards safety. In a nutshell, one that is easy to forget is probably strong enough. Namely, real words, favorite band names, dates of birth, and personal and pet names simply do not cut it. Obvious choices make it a cakewalk for hacker and criminals to gain access to your account, credit card info, or some other piece of digital real estate. Even people that know you could take advantage of the fact that you have not invested much thought in creating a strong password.
Things have reached a pretty pass
Alas, if we take a look at a list of most used passwords worldwide, we discover something truly disturbing. Namely, they are ridiculously easy to guess. It would take an average hacker a sip of coffee to break into an account “protected” by these weak locks. The password “123456” still tops the list, for the fifth consecutive year, and is followed by equally bad “password”, “123456789” and “qwerty”. Among the bunch of other astonishingly poor examples, let us just highlight “google”, “66666” and “mynoob”.
However, if you think you are much better, you may have to think again. Any word on its own is a poor choice and combination of a few words is only marginally better. What you need to do is pick a number of random characters, symbols and numbers and combine them with capitalization. Avoid any kind of patterns and keep it unusual and unpredictable. It is advisable to go for longer strings of at least 12 characters. The longer the password is, the harder it is to crack.
Finally, you should come up with a separate password for each internet service you use. Yes, you may have trouble memorizing them all, but you can always write them down. Just make sure to keep them in the safest location possible, otherwise, you will defeat the whole purpose. You can also use a password manager to make your life easier and avoid the ordeal of drilling characters into your brain. This software helps you create a password and also remembers it for you. Of course, you would have to keep only one password in mind, the one which guards your manager.
On the safe side
A strong password is the chief warden of internet safety, an indispensable tool in your online security arsenal. Note that you must not only create strong passwords, but protect them from memory failures and wrongdoers. Do not be obvious and lazy. Steer away from dictionary phrases and passwords based on personal information. Go for something random and meaningless. In case you feel stuck, use password managers and software to do the heavy lifting for you. At last, adhere to best safety practices and avoid phishing sites like plague.
Guest article written by: Dan Radak is a marketing professional with eleven years of experience. He is currently working with a number of companies in the field of digital marketing, closely collaborating with a couple of e-commerce companies. He is also a coauthor on several technology websites and regular contributor to Technivorz.