Creating strong passwords

Creating Strong Passwords

Are you guilty of using bad passwords?

Maybe you’ve been using the same one with slightly different numbers for five years. Or you just use the first six letters on the top left row of your keyboard to spell “qwerty.”  You aren’t alone. According to Splashdata’s annual World’s Worst Passwords Report, users continue to use the same mistakes when it comes to creating their logins.

Don’t worry, we are here to help you break your bad password habits with these five quick tips.

Never use the same password twice

 

If someone can figure out your password, it leaves all your other accounts that use it vulnerable. It may seem easier to manage your accounts by using the same or very similar passwords, but it just leads to greater risk.

Make sure to create completely unique passwords for every account.  While you are at it, try diversifying the answers to your security questions as much as systems will allow.

 

Don’t use personal or easy to guess information

 

Do you have your birthday, pet’s name or job title listed anywhere on social media? Then any cybercriminal (or untrustworthy friend) can easily find them and test them out as your password.

Avoid using personal information someone could easily find as a password. As cute and easy to remember as your pet’s name might be, it’s just not the safest password. This goes for security questions too. Don’t use answers that are public record like your birthplace.

 

Use a variety of numbers, letters, special characters, and different cases

 

They say variety is the spice of life. It’s also the first ingredient in a good password. Instead of using simple words and numbers in sequence, try to make your passwords as strong as possible by using a variety of characters in a random sequence that would be difficult to guess.

For example, ‘123456789’ is a bad password.  It just isn’t complicated enough. In fact, it makes an appearance on Digital Trend’s list of Worst Passwords of 2018.

“Passwords can still be easy to remember. Just add special characters to make it a bit more complicated. You can improve a bad password like ‘tomatosoup’ by turning into Tom@to$oup64!,” said Francois de Koker, NOC Supervisor for 360 Smart Networks.

 

Invest in a password manager

 

We get it. It’s hard to remember 15 unique passwords that are basically gibberish. If you find managing your passwords overwhelming, invest in a tool that can help keep track of them. Password managers can assist you in generating and retrieving your more complex passwords.

 

Update your passwords if there is a chance that they were compromised

 

Even strong passwords can be compromised. Data breaches happen all the time, so it’s important to update your passwords if you think they were at risk. You can also use this tool to check to see if your accounts have been compromised.

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Marius Nel
Published on April 23, 2019
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