When setting up any type of internet account, we all face the annoyance of having to create a strong password. Why a strong password? Why can’t I just choose something I can remember easily? Hackers have the ability to guess different variations of passwords which result in security violations. The stronger the password, the less likely a hacker will get an accurate guess. With the sophistication of today’s technology it is becoming increasingly easier for hackers to guess passwords, so the ultimate goal is to keep information safe and protect identities.
There are several reasons for needing a strong password. Most importantly it is for security reasons that a strong password is required. Unfortunately, identity theft is common and strengthening internet security is a sure fire way to protect your personal information.
Some ways passwords are stolen:
- Guess-based programs. There are several programs out there designed to guess passwords that contain common words based off of a user’s information (birth date, child’s name, pet’s name, address, family name, etc.) Steer clear from including any personal information in your password. This will prevent it from being considered “weak”.
- Dictionary-word programs. There are also programs that run a username against every word in the dictionary, hoping to find a match. Avoid using “big words” that you may think would be difficult to decipher. This included foreign languages as well.
- “Over the Shoulder”. Hackers usually go to libraries, Cyber Cafés and other public places to lurk around and glance over a person’s shoulder hoping to catch on to their usernames and passwords. Just as easy as that, your privacy is violated. Avoid the “Remember Me” option at all costs. Some websites default the selection, but make a conscious effort to deselect it so that the next person that comes along (possibly that hacker that’s been eyeing you) doesn’t log into your accounts. Safety first.
So what exactly constitutes a strong password? Usually it consists of a combination of letters numbers and certain special characters. Any character that is found on a standard keyboard would be considered acceptable to use for a strong password. Using a random combination of letters in different cases (upper and lower), numbers and characters (i.e. J5d*1sU>7) would ensure a password that will be nearly impossible to hack. Remember that the use of a name, pet, street address or anything consisting of a common name or phrase will leave ease for a hacker to decipher the password and break into personal accounts. People tend to stick to simple passwords they can remember for fear of forgetting what it is. You can still use something rememerbale, just add some special characters and numbers to the mix.
Here’s an example…
The password anthony24 is a weak password.
The password anthonY2447! is a strong password.
Here are some other examples of strong passwords that are easy to rememeber
Here’s a good Password Strength Test to see if you are using strong passwords.
Taking a little extra effort to remember a strong password will pay off in the end.