Whether it’s for social media, work, shopping, or your own business, you have a password. Hopefully, more than one. But are those passwords really as secure as you think they are? Recently even Bill Burr, regarded as the father of the modern password, has said even he has regrets on the advice he gave on password strength.
So how do you improve your passwords to make sure they are as secure as they can be? Here are some simple tips:
1. Use multiple passwords
You’ve probably heard this before but are you actually putting it into practice? Creating a new password for every account you have may seem tedious at first but there is nothing worse than a hacker getting a hold of one of your accounts and now having access to all of them. A good tip for creating multiple passwords is to stick to a central theme to create passwords for certain sites. For example, all of your social media passwords may start with the letter “H”, or maybe all your work accounts have a fruit related word in them.
2. Keep it simple… sort of
When we say keep it simple we don’t mean name your passwords “Password!1”. Use difficult to guess yet easy to remember words or phrases rather than a short, complicated string of numbers, letters, and symbols. Speaking with CBS news, Burr said “It's probably better to do fairly long passwords that are phrases or something like that that you can remember than to try to get people to do lots of funny characters,".
The trick here is the length rather than the complexity. The longer the password the harder it is for a hacker to brute force their way into. That said, it doesn’t hurt to add a few numbers and symbols into your passwords, just try to put them in less predictable places.
3. Do not share your passwords!
Again, if this one seems obvious to you, that’s a good thing. You should never share your passwords with anyone, not even close friends. Sharing your passwords either online or in public increases the potential of someone learning your password that you didn’t intend.
If using a group or company account where there is no individual access password, be sure everyone in the group is aware that this information is confidential. Furthermore, be careful of where you log in with your passwords. If you are on a public computer or using public Wi-Fi, you may not be as secure as you think. Think twice before signing in with your precious information.
4. Consider a password manager
There are a variety of free programs and web services out there that allow you to generate powerful passwords for every site you go to but only require you to remember one master password.
These managers are great for work or home computers where you may be frequenting several sites on a regular basis and don’t want to constantly try to remember everyone of your passwords.
So, the next time you're asked to create a password, keep these tips in mind and remember a strong password is hard to guess but easy to remember.