If I had a penny for every time a website told me that my password was too weak, I’d probably have enough for a combo meal from any fast food restaurant. This time it’s my turn to give the password lecture all in the name of cyber security. There are many ways websites go about passwords, most sites have a minimum of ‘X amount of characters’ and require a combination of letters and numbers, while other sites take it a step further, and require letters numbers, and a special character. Whatever the combination can be, it can sometimes be hard to make memorable, which becomes a problem when you have to deal with resetting your password and making it something easy to remember, and inadvertently easily hackable.
No matter what you do, it is extremely likely that at some point in time a person will attempt to hack account passwords for a site you use. It is at this time that your password combination becomes vital. If your password is something simple when a hacker is using a device to input thousands of login attempts, there is a good chance that the hacker is going to gain your account information. And if you use a universal password, then a hacker now has access to whatever else you used that password for, which can be anything from your Facebook to your Visa information.
So, how do we prevent easily hackable passwords? A good starting point is to not use common passwords. If you want a password that is truly strong, forget everything in the English dictionary. If you have a strong inclination to use the name of a loved one as your password, throw that inclination straight off of a cliff right now because that’s hackable.
A second major part of making sure that your passwords won’t be guessed by hacking programs is to change out your passwords while making sure that they are combinations of letters, numbers, and special characters. You should mix all three of those password components in order to keep it safe, if you need you can make a “secret language” out of your password to help you remember it.
Another tip to help you keep your accounts safe is to never have a universal password. Do not use one password for everything, as mentioned earlier, if a hacker were to get a hold of one of your passwords and it’s the same across all of your accounts they can easily get access to bank or credit card information. Have individual passwords dedicated to each site you have an account on, it may take some of your time, but in the long run you won’t have to worry if one of your passwords gets leaked to the public.
If you need ideas which can help you in managing your passwords here are two ways to do so:
1. Pen & Paper: You can always write down your passwords on something, but be careful, if you end up going the pen and paper route never have your password sheet in a predictable, easy to access location or on your person.
2. Password Manager Applications: Pretty self explanatory, password manager programs help you keep track of your passwords and will allow you to use and remember all of the complicated password complications you can think of.
A simple summary of this article would be that you shouldn’t have universal passwords, or simple and common passwords which would be easy for a hacking program to guess. Change out your passwords frequently, you can even change it once a month if you feel the need to do so, and if you want to make remembering and making strong passwords easy you can always get a password manager application. Before you download a password manager program however, make sure it’s reputable. You may unintentionally be downloading malware or spyware onto your device, and once you get it onto your device you may end up needing a PC tune-up to get it off as most malware can be very difficult to remove.
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