Despite the regular warnings, “password” and “123456” remain the two most common passwords in the world. But just how safe are the passwords you use? (If it is ‘Password’, ‘123456’ or something similar, then we advise you change them).
Some hackers use software which can generate as many as 8 million password guesses a second. The website howsecureismypassword.net lets you find out how secure passwords are, and how long it might take for a hacker to crack your password. We advise that you do not enter your actual password onto the site (just to be safe) – but you could enter similar words (i.e. typing in the same amount of characters/capital letter/numbers in your actual passwords).
So how can you stay safe and secure? First, find out how exposed you are, then follow these easy steps towards creating easily memorable passwords that are different for every site you visit.
Use multiple words which don’t connect in any way if somebody else were to see them together.
Passphrases – Not Passwords
“If there’s one thing people should be doing, it’s using passphrases not words.
Take a line from a favourite film, or a poem you know, or a children’s rhyme, then maybe swap a word. Phrases are much easier to remember than random strings of text.”
Fraser Kyne of Bromium, a company that fights viruses and malware.
Use More Than Just One
It is good practice to have a different password for every site that you visit.
That way if one account gets hacked, all your others are safe.
Use A Combination of Characters
Combining letters, numbers, punctuation and a variation of lower and upper cases should make any password you have stronger. The longer your password is, the more secure it should be – especially if you do use a good range of characters.
Be Cyber Savvy
Don’t use the name of a pet as your password, and then post up loads of pictures on your social media naming them. Avoid using passwords that may be connected to family and pet names, or past addresses.
The biggest obstacle many face when creating new passwords is the issue and hassle of generating and remembering them.
Password managers are software packages that, simply, manage your passwords. They can store and encrypt endless amounts off passwords for all of your online accounts and profiles. Another added bonus is that most managers can create and store passwords on your behalf, so you do not have to do so yourself. In most cases, the only password you’ll need to remember is the one for the password managers themselves. So make sure that one is particularly strong!
Another suggestion is as simple as it comes: If you create a long, complex password and worry that you might forget it, then write it down on paper and place it somewhere secure, such as a locked drawer.
And Now- The Hall of Shame
The 10 most commonly used passwords in the world – in order are:
Sources: The Guardian, SplashData
For information about our work to prevent individuals and communities from becoming victims of cyber crime, please visit www.safeinwarwickshire.com/cybercrime
Be Cyber Streetwise is a cross-government campaign, funded by the National Cyber Security Programme. They aim to measurably and significantly improve the online safety behaviour and confidence of consumers and small businesses (SMEs).
Get Safe Online is the UK’s leading source of factual and easy-to-understand information on online safety. Their website offers advice on how you can protect yourself, your computers and devices, and your business against the likes of fraud, identity theft, viruses and other potential online problems.