We see it all the time in the news—millions of people who lose the security of their finances and even identity due to data breaches. What can you do to make your password less vulnerable to attack and ensure your hardware and software security?
Here are four simple ways to help hacker-proof your passwords:
1. Stay away from basic passwords.
Good passwords have several things in common:
They do not use words you would find in the dictionary. The reason behind this is that many hackers keep “cracking” tools that check to see if your password uses any of these words in order of most likely to least likely. If your characters are random, you greatly decrease the odds of this being successful.
They use more than letters. Sprinkle in numbers and special characters to your password to make it exponentially harder to hack. It also helps to use a combination of lowercase and capital letters.
They are long enough. This is why most websites require a certain number of characters. Even though “ryx1!” follows the above parameters, it would be particularly easy to crack because it is so short. The more characters you can use, the better.
2. Use a password manager.
While it may seem counter intuitive, password managers can greatly increase hardware and software security. Even though your passwords are all stored in one place, it reduces the friction of creating truly random, secure passwords and of changing passwords frequently for fear you won’t remember.
3. Use a different password for everything.
Another reason password managers come in handy is to stop the security faux pas of using the same password everywhere you go. The reason behind this is that if your passwords are the same, a hacker who accesses one account now has access to everything. It is common for hackers to try your password in a variety of places if it ever comes into their possession. In this way, you are reducing your risk of loss. If they gain access to one account, then that is the only account they have access to rather than your Twitter, Amazon, bank, etc.
4. Never use default passwords.
Even if you use hardware and software security best practices whenever you create a password, it is important to be aware of the passwords in your life that you never actively setup. This may the default password on a piece of equipment such as your router or an initial website password that may have been sent to your email. Always change default passwords immediately to something more secure.