You would never even think about using a password such as “iloveyou.” Or settle on a password such as “123456” or “default” or “hello.” Yet these are just a few of the oh-so-simple passwords taken from the infidelity dating website Ashley Madison and cracked by a group of password decoders. The story is embarrassing on so many levels, and serves as a stark reminder that you need passwords that work. Common is not a good characteristic when you’re picking a password to use online. Neither is basic. You want a password that will stump a sophisticated hacker computer.
How do you choose a secure password? Take the advice of internet security provider Norton, and find a password that is long and complicated.
“The shorter and less complex your password is, the quicker it can be for the program to come up with the correct combination of characters,” according to Norton.
“The longer and more complex your password is, the less likely the attacker will use the brute force method, because of the lengthy amount of time it will take for the program to figure it out. Instead, they’ll use a method called a dictionary attack, where the program will cycle through a predefined list of common words that are used in passwords.”
If you are not certain that you can come up with a password that’s secure enough, get help from the cyber pros. Consult howsecureismypassword.net to check how secure your passwords are. This site can also tell you how long would it take a computer to figure out your password. That’s another way to judge just how secure is the password you’ve created.
Diceware will help you create a secure password by randomly generating words. Rolling the dice will give you samples that match the Diceware wordlist. The more words you use, the stronger your password.
If you prefer another option to use instead of a password, the University of Southern California have figured out an alternative. Marjan Ghazvininejad and Kevin Knight discovered that we can remember a password using a 60-bit number much easier if it is converted into a sequence of words. They developed a computer program that turns the words into a two-line poem with eight syllables each and ending in a pair of rhyming words.
If you want to create new passwords, here’s some advice that will give you the peace of mind that comes with knowing your choices are secure. Just remember that writing a password is not the best time to declare “iloveyou”.
- Use a combination of numbers, symbols, uppercase and lowercase letters
- Ensure that the password is at least eight characters long
- Use abbreviated phrases for passwords
- Change your passwords regularly
- Log out of websites and devices after you have finished using them
- Choose a common password like ‘123456’, ‘password’, “iloveyou” or ‘111111’
- Use only one word. Dictionary-based systems let hackers crack passwords
- Use a verson of your name, a family member’s name, pet’s name, phone number, address or birthday
- Write your password down or share it or let anyone else use your login details
- Answer ‘yes’ when asked to save your password to a computer browser
Read More: How to Choose a Secure Password