Are Your Online Passwords Cracked?

Living in a digital world requires us to have passwords for everything; social media, bank accounts, online shopping, emails etc. This can be overwhelming and may lead to some individuals using passwords that are ‘easy to remember’. These ‘easy to remember’ passwords (if included in the below infographic) are the most commonly stolen passwords. If you happen to use any of these passwords, you are putting yourself at risk. However, you can still create easy to remember passwords that are safer for you to use. See below for some handy tips!

According to Paypal, a strong password has a number of different characteristics to make it the strongest and safest password for you to use. Paypal suggests that you:

· Use more than 8 characters

· Use a mixture of characters (lower case, upper case, a number and a special character)

· Stay away from words or dates that are associated with you (birth dates, family names etc.),

· Use a combination of words with unusual characteristics including misspelt words which are not in the dictionary.

Patrick Collinson (Guardian) advises that using passphrases instead of a traditional password can extend the length of time it would take a hacker to crack. For example; using singular words would be cracked instantly, adding a phrase like “IReadThe…” might extend the time it takes to crack your password by 2 years. To get the most out of using a passphrase, adding “EveryDayIRead…” could take billions of years to crack. These passphrases can also make remembering passwords easier, with the benefits of being safe. Collinson suggests you can customise them to the platform or website that you are using to make them more memorable.

Creating your new password then comes with the responsibility of being able to remember it. Collinson recommends the use of password managers, which can also tell you whether your password is poor and help you create a safer alternative. You can also write it down on paper, but this will then need to be placed somewhere secure in your home, such as a locked drawer or safe. This process is much safer than having it stored on your computer or mobile devices.

So let this be your reminder to look at your passwords and evaluate their strength level.

Sources: Paypal, Guardian, Zywave