Do you use any of these bad passwords?
- Your kid’s name
- Always the same one
Why is that not good?
- They are easy to guess or crack. Really easy.
- If one site is compromised, a hacker has access to all your services.
Avoid Common Passwords
If the word you use can be found in the dictionary, it’s not a strong password. If you use numbers or letters in the order they appear on the keyboard (“1234” or “qwerty“), it’s not a strong password. If it’s the name of your relatives, your kids, or your pet, favorite team, or city of your birth, guess what—it’s not a strong password. If it’s your birthday, anniversary, date of graduation, even your car license plate number, it’s not a strong password. It doesn’t matter if you follow this with another number. These are all things hackers would try first. They write programs to check these kinds of passwords first, in fact.
Other terms to avoid:
- and for the love of all that’s techie, if you use “password” as your password, just sign off the Internet right now.
What makes a password strong?
A strong password:
- Is at least eight characters long.
- Does not contain your user name, real name, or company name.
- Does not contain a complete word.
- Is significantly different from previous passwords.
Help yourself remember your strong password by following these tips:
- Create an acronym from an easy-to-remember piece of information.
For example, pick a phrase that is meaningful to you, such as My son’s birthday is 12 December, 2004. Using that phrase as your guide, you might use Msbi12/Dec,4 for your password.
- Substitute numbers, symbols, and misspellings for letters or words in an easy-to-remember phrase. For example, My son’s birthday is 12 December, 2004 could become Mi$un’s Brthd8iz 12124 (it’s OK to use spaces in your password).
- Relate your password to a favorite hobby or sport. For example, I love to play badminton could become [email protected]()n.
- If you feel you must write down your password in order to remember it, make sure you don’t label it as your password, and keep it in a safe place.
- Generate similar but distinct passwords for separate accounts. You can use similar base words to help you remember your passwords easily without making them too easy to crack. So “JeHaM1Je_31497602” might be modified as “mykidsJeCaMiJe-90807060,” “HouseOnSpooner#1420” might become “1500*myfirstHomeOnSpooner.”
- Do not use online password generators.