Infoworld.com pointed out that a recent study showed that the most popular password in the world is still, you guessed it, “password.” Others topping the list of twenty five worst passwords are “123456,” “qwerty,” “monkey” and one of my favorites, “trustno1.” Hackers often use software designed to guess passwords one at a time until it finds a match. Presumably, a hacker would program the software to first try common passwords like those above.
Hackers can crack nearly any password given enough time, but how long will they wait? A very complex password can take days or even centuries to crack, but “password” probably only takes a few seconds. It’s likely a hacker won’t wait days to steal the credit card information saved to your Amazon.com account. They might wait a few minutes.
Worst Passwords Cause the Worst Hacks
As I mentioned in a previous post, a lot of people repeat passwords, or simply have unsafe passwords like “password.” It’s not just a home user problem either. People have unsecure passwords at work as well, which can put company data at risk. As a reminder, the first thing you can do to protect your data is to lock it up with a secure password. It’s totally up to you how difficult it is for somebody to access your various accounts. So if someone gets in easily, who is really to blame?
A recent article on Wired.com explains that although a strong password is better, you probably can’t remember them all without password management tools. Obviously you can’t remember twenty five or more extremely complex passwords. You’ll probably write it down on whatever paper is handy, meaning it could be lost or easily found by some unsavory passerby.
How to Create a Strong Password
It’s important to create secure and memorable passwords, but how do you accomplish this when you need upper case and lower case letters, numbers, and special characters? Time.com has a solution: a “password recipe.” Using the site name and a phrase of your own choosing, you can create an extremely secure and easily memorable password distinct to each site. This way you simply remember and follow the recipe.
Taking the time to craft your own password recipe is well worth your time and will aid you in remembering the swarms of passwords you’ll likely encounter, just make sure it has upper and lower case letters, numbers, special characters, and no dictionary words. Be sure to use around ten or twelve characters, don’t be skimpy, and don’t forget to change it occasionally.