Humanity has been taught incorrectly about passwords.
We've all heard the old standard for a "good" password: 8 characters with upper/lower case + numbers + special characters. This standard is actually EASY for computers to crack and HARD for people to remember. When it comes to passwords, LENGTH trumps all. While you are at it make it easy to remember, and to type, by using a sentence.
The password above was very easy and fast for me to type. It's 29 characters long and would take 11 THOUSAND years to crack!
** To be safe, don't use the site above to analyze passwords that you intend to use.
Some websites don't allow passwords this long, however. They limit you to 12 characters. If this is the case, it becomes much more important to include more things in the password. For shorter passwords, a strong password should be a combination of uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers, and special characters. Avoid using common words or personal information that can be easily guessed.
Takes 5.6 minutes to crack!
Takes 2 thousand years to crack but is a nightmare to type.
Using the same password across multiple accounts is a risky practice. If one account is compromised, all your other accounts become vulnerable. Therefore, it is crucial to use unique passwords for each online account. To manage multiple passwords effectively, consider using a password manager. Password managers securely store and generate strong passwords, eliminating the need to remember them all. They can sync across devices, making it convenient and secure to access your accounts.
Regular Password Updates
While it may seem inconvenient, changing passwords periodically is essential for maintaining security. It is advisable to update passwords at least every three to six months, or sooner if you suspect any compromise. Regularly updating passwords reduces the risk of unauthorized access, especially if a service you use has been breached. Set reminders to change passwords or use a password manager with an automatic password change feature to streamline the process.
To add an extra layer of security, enable two-factor authentication (2FA) whenever available. 2FA requires an additional verification step, such as a unique code sent to your mobile device, to access your account. Even if an attacker manages to obtain your password, they would still need the second factor to gain entry. Many online platforms, including email services, social media networks, and financial institutions, offer 2FA options. Take advantage of this feature to strengthen your account security.
Beware of Phishing Attempts
Phishing attacks remain a prevalent threat to password security. Cybercriminals often send deceptive emails or create fake websites to trick users into revealing their login credentials. Be cautious of suspicious emails, messages, or links, particularly those asking for personal information. Verify the authenticity of the sender and double-check website URLs before entering login details. Avoid clicking on links in unsolicited emails and never provide sensitive information through unsecured channels. Stay informed about phishing techniques and educate yourself and others to prevent falling victim to these scams.
Protecting your online accounts with strong passwords is a vital step in safeguarding your personal information from unauthorized access. By following these best practices, including using complex and unique passwords, regularly updating them, enabling two-factor authentication, and being cautious of phishing attempts, you can significantly enhance your password security. Remember, the time and effort invested in maintaining strong passwords are small compared to the potential consequences of a security breach. Prioritize your online safety and stay one step ahead of cyber threats by adopting these password security best practices.