In today’ s society, we are constantly using computers and mobile devices to access various services. Everything from our music and video consumption to our banking and shopping require passwords. Aside from the obvious, secure passwords are our last defense against hackers and would-be criminals. However, common phishing scams and viruses can steal our passwords, leaving us vulnerable. Not to mention, large corporations’ servers can be breached and leak our information through no fault of our own as well.
So Why Bother?
It might seem fruitless to even use one and more of a hassle. You might think that an account getting hack is no big deal. After all, Amazon will refund your money. The banks are insured, and you may not mind a few Bollywood movies in the Netflix watch history. But an account can hold many small, seemingly insignificant bits of information that can be used to steal your identity, ruin your credit, wrack up bills and even get you arrested. While it certainly feels daunting, you should aim to use a different password for each of your accounts, never repeating the same one in any place. You should also try to change these passwords on a regular basis. We recommend every three months for things such as online banking and every six months for less important things. However, just because you are diligent with your password habits, doesn’t mean you can slack on the actual passwords themselves.
What Makes a Secure Password?
Any good password will be a minimum of six characters long with a mix of upper- and lower-case letters, numbers and symbols. You should never use personal information such as social security numbers or birthdays and ideally avoid actual words. Longer is always better too. To illustrate how password complexity affects its strength, let’s assume your password is “password.” As of 2020, there is software that can crack that in less than a second. If you capitalize it, then the result is the same–but adding a “1” to the end so that your password is “Password1” suddenly requires two decades to crack. Now let’s get more creative. Let’s get alphanumeric and assume our password is “P@55w()rd1.” Now you are looking at 80 millennia to crack it. And if you really feel like “P@55w()rdSrC0o1” then you’re looking at one heck of a password.
Too lazy to make your own? You can visit the web for several different random password generators that will help you create one for free!