Passwords are like underwear: change them often, keep them private, and never share them with anyone.
Introduction to Strong Passwords
Creating a strong password is one of the fundamental steps in maintaining online security. A strong password acts as the first line of defence against unauthorised access to your personal and financial information. Yet, despite widespread knowledge of the risks associated with weak passwords, many people continue to use simplistic and easily guessable passwords because they're easier to remember. The key is finding a balance between creating a password that's both secure and memorable. In the following paragraphs, I'll guide you through the process of creating passwords that can withstand some of the more common hacking attempts.
The importance of password complexity
The complexity of a password is crucial for safeguarding accounts. Simple passwords, such as "password123" or "admin," are vulnerable to “brute force” attacks. This is where hackers use software to quickly try and “guess” millions of possible password combinations. To prevent this, a password should include a mix of uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers, and symbols. Furthermore, it should be long enough—ideally, more than 12 characters—to reduce the likelihood of being guessed or cracked.
Using mnemonics to remember complex passwords
While it's essential to have a complex password, it's also necessary to be able to remember it without writing it down. One technique to create a strong and easy to remember password is to use a mnemonic device or passphrase. For instance, think of a sentence or a phrase from your favourite book, song, or movie, and use the first letter of each word as your password, mixing in numbers and symbols. For example, "To be or not to be, that is the question!" might become "Tbontb,t1$theq!" This ensures that you have a complex password and one that is easier to remember.
Regular updates and variations
Passwords need regular updating. It's recommended to change your passwords every three months and avoid using the same password across multiple sites and services. If remembering multiple passwords seems daunting, consider using a password manager. These services (one such service is LastPass ) can generate and store complex passwords for you, so you only need to remember one master password - making sure to follow the guidelines in this article to remember it!
The role of two-factor authentication
Adding an extra layer of security with two-factor authentication (2FA) is also highly effective. Even if a hacker guesses your password, they won't be able to access your account without the second form of verification, which is often a code sent to your phone or generated by an app on your phone. It is useful to enable 2FA wherever possible, particularly for your sensitive accounts like email, banking, and social media.
While the thought of managing a multitude of complex passwords may seem overwhelming, the security benefits far outweigh the inconvenience. By taking the time to create strong passwords and using the available tools like password managers and 2FA, you can significantly reduce your risk of being a cybercrime victim. Remember, investing in your cybersecurity is not just about protecting data—it's about safeguarding your peace of mind.
If you need assistance with any of the suggestions outlined in this article, feel free to contact one of us at Tech Warrior, we’d be happy to assist.