According to the New York Times, over half of Americans have had an account hacked in the past two years. Part of the problem is that our passwords are terrible. Unfortunately, the more secure we make them, the more difficult they are for us to remember. There are countless websites, apps and accounts that we have to create passwords to access. Many people even use the same password for multiple accounts, so if someone figures out the password to one of your accounts, they will likely be able to access many of your other accounts. Passwords remain critical to keeping our online information secure. They are not a perfect method, however they remain our best option. What can be done to increase the security of our accounts and also make logging into our favorite accounts easier?
- Think of a password phrase instead of a password word. Adding length to your password using multiple words is an easy way to make your password more secure.
- Adding length is even better than adding special characters. Password cracking software knows most of the common substitutions that people use with special characters. For example, using @ instead of ‘a’.
- Using words that are not typically found in the dictionary are a way to add security as well. A simple way to do this is to use a proper last name.
Let’s try an example. Let’s say you are a fan of the Minnesota Wild hockey team, so your current password is the name of the team and the year that your first child was born. “wild2008”
According to howsecureismypassword.net, it would take hacking software only 1 minute to find that combination.
Now let’s try a password phrase instead. Let’s say your favorite player is Wild goalie Devin Dubnyk, so you use the password phrase “Dubnykblockstheshot”
As you can see, this would take password hacking software much longer to crack. You could add additional security by adding special characters or numbers to the end as well.
Although having a more secure password is not the only thing that you can do to keep your information safe online, it is certainly a great place to start.