If you’re looking for a password which is super strong, then don’t do any of the following. To go from hackable to human firewall, you’re going to have to take the following into consideration. Here’s what NOT to do when choosing a password.
They’re what divides us from them, what keeps our info and accounts private – but oftentimes we just don’t put enough effort into making our passwords, well, a password.
What should be the gatekeeper to all our deepest, darkest secrets (or, you know, your social media accounts) can sometimes become seriously compromised – and that makes you just one bad password away from some serious security breaches. (Or sketchy Instagram posts that should never, ever have seen the light of day, much less your feed.)
Here are just a few password faux pas for you to laugh at, enjoy – and never, EVER do yourself:
Step right up, and wash out your mouth with a bar of soap – look, none of us are exactly saints, but inserting a curse word into your password is never a good idea.
Yes, it’s unlikely to be guessed (unless – there’s another curse-word minded person out there who’s trying to hack your password), BUT think ahead to what happens if you ever need to reset your password? Typing in (or, worse – telling someone over the phone) your less-than savory password is always going to end in embarrassment.
You might remember some of the more influential people in your life telling you to ‘not be a sheep,’ and never is that more the case than when it comes to password creation and management.
We all like to think of ourselves as individuals, but then you see some of the most common passwords out there worn as a dress, you might realize that, actually, you need to think of a something a little bit different to everyone else.
Because if other people were to jump off a cliff, would you follow them?
Sharing a Password, Part 1
We all meet people throughout our lives with whom we’d like to share everything – our food, our wardrobes, our free time – but passwords?
Sharing a password with a loved one or friend is definitely a no-no. There are just some things which should always be kept private (and secure) no matter how well you know or trust a person. Because your information is your information, and some things should stay that way.
Worse still, is…
Using One Password for Everything
Need we explain further? Probably not.
But just in case – think of having one password for everything as having a really high house of cards. Every time you use the same password for a new account, you add another layer of cards to your house. Everything looks solid – until one card falls…and the next thing you know, your house of cards is just a sad pile of nothing on the floor.
Your passwords are the cards, and the sad pile of nothing is what happens after a hacker steals everything you have.
Keeping the Default Password
Yes, we get it – you bought a new, shiny device and went through all the hassle of setting it up, and now you’re tired. You’ve left the default password there ‘in the meantime,’ and soon, the ‘meantime’ becomes a week ago, then a month, and then forever.
Every minute that passes leaves you open – because, we’re sorry to say, that your default password is the furthest thing from one of a kind – it’s on literally every other device sold. That means, anyone who owns the same model could potentially get into your device too. And who knows what might happen then?
Sharing a Password, Part 2
We all love a bit of something for nothing, don’t we? Well, if you’re into online shopping and are looking for a discount coupon, then keep your wits about you. Some online coupon sites will cost you just a bit more than you had in mind – and it’ll amount to far more than the discount they’re offering!
Some sites will ask for a little more of your personal information than you should be comfortable giving them – if you’re happy putting in your email address (even when knowing they might spam you for all eternity), then that’s your call. A site should never, ever request your password or other sensitive details from you, and if they do, then something is seriously, terribly unsafe on that site.
Your Password is Too Short
Another fun password faux pas is to make your password as easily guessable as possible.
Much of this has to do with length of your password as well as with the letters you choose – so for the best result, keep your password long and flowing, with a nice mix of upper and lower cases, numbers and letters – if you’re feeling fancy, throw in a special character or two.
Because, having a shorter password makes it far more guessable. There are any number of malware programs trying random letter combinations on your account, trying to break your password. The shorter your password, the quicker a hacker will guess it. So give them a tough a time as possible.
Don’t believe that’s possible? See how long it would take a hacker to crack your password here.
Passwords are just like snowflakes – each one should be unique and individual.
One way to make sure this happens is through use of a password manager (see our password managers review 2018); another way to ensure your password are all unique, secure and hard to hack is to smash your keyboard’s letters at random, and then make sure to write the resulting letter symphony somewhere secure.
Otherwise, following some simple, easy to remember rules to strengthen your password, mainly:
- Using a combination of letters and numbers
- Using both upper and lower cases
- Using random series of letter and numbers
These three simple tips will definitely keep you strong and secure in the times to come – and even if you did end up sharing your password, it’s unlikely that anyone would remember it anyway.