A password is like a key that you need to gain access to your accounts – emails, social media, school / college portal, etc. In this era of digital communication, it is necessary to ensure that your passwords are secure and do not fall into the wrong hands.
A survey by “Imperva” in 2010 found that 1% of the 32 million users of a website called “RockYou”, used “123456” as their password. Some of the other commonly used passwords included “12345”, “abc123”, “qwerty”, etc. Another survey in 2015 claimed that majority of the passwords are a combination of “12345” and “password”
A majority of hacking occur by brute force attacks, or simply guessing your password. Using your personal information and a brute force attack, skilled hackers can easily crack your password. To prevent that from happening, you need to set a strong password.
• The password should be 8 – 12 (even 16) characters long.
• It should contain a mixture of upper case and lower case.
• It should contain numbers and symbols.
What not to include
• Your Name.
• Name of family member, partners, pets.
• Name of school, college, university, company related to you.
• Date of Birth.
• Any place directly related to you or your family, like hometown.
• Dictionary words.
If you have difficulty remembering a complex password, try substituting a couple of letters in your password with an alphabet or symbol. For example, “Tablecloth” becomes “T@blEcl0th”. Although it is easy to remember, a skilled hacker can still crack it.
Use a sentence to create a Password
To keep all your accounts safe, you need to use a different password every time. Given the list of conditions mentioned, it would be very difficult to remember all of them. For that reason, you can use some of the tips given below to make one strong password.
• Use a memorable incident and make it into a sentence: I received my first guitar in 2007.
• Then convert the sentence into something like this: Ig0T1stGTR@07.
• Another example: I moved into 12th Penn street apartment 23A in 2012
• Converted into:Imvd12Pns@1223A
Combining Random Words
Another method, easy to memorize, is combining 3-4 random words. Example: George, money, perplexed, horse. The words should not have any connection; the must be completely random or this method will fail.
It is recommended that you use Diceware to create this type of a password. It is easy to remember, no numbers or symbols, but hard to crack. More the randomness of the password, greater the difficulty for a hacker to crack it using conventional brute force methods.
If you are using a large number of account, it is recommended that you use a password manager to remember them all. A password manager requires you to just remember a master password and it will do the rest.
Some of the best password managers out there includes LastPass, 1Password.
Some other Tips
• Try to avoid Pissing scams.
• Use a proper anti-virus, like “ABC” Antivirus to ensure that your computer is not infected with any malwares.
• Do not use unencrypted public Wi-Fi connections.
• Avoid using shared or public computers for using any of your accounts.
• Change your passwords at a regular interval.