If you’re anything like me, you’ve got a ton of passwords. Between email, social media accounts, apps and more we’re always creating new usernames, passwords, logging in and logging out. The prevalence of password protected services increases your risk of a security breach. Try these easy tips for creating passwords that are hard to hack, but easy to remember.
- Don’t Make Passwords Easy to Guess – this one may seem obvious, but you would be surprised. An Adobe security breach in 2013 listed the five most common company passwords as: “123456,” “123456789,” “password,” “adobe123,” and “12345678.” Can you believe it? Some other passwords you should avoid include names of family members or pets, special dates or any password related to your username.
- Make the Password 8 Characters or Longer – in most cases of hacking, the hacker isn’t trying to guess your password on a trial and error basis. Generally, they are using computers to try long streams of numbers and letters and can crack your code within a matter of hours. Many hackers don’t even bother with passwords that are longer than 8 characters, so keep that in mind – as long as it’s not 123456789!
- Don’t Use the Same Password Everywhere – I know this is tempting, but you’re only hurting your own security. If a hacker acquires one of your passwords, chances are they are going to try it on all of your online accounts.
For the ultimate online security your passwords should include a variety of numbers, letters and symbols; be 8 characters or longer and unique to each account. To maximize memorability use consistent symbol replacement and capitalization rules for all of your passwords to keep things from becoming too complex. You can also try secure password management apps like KeePass to keep everything in one place.
I would like to encourage you to stay safe online.