Not too long ago hackers stole 32 million user passwords and exposed them on a web site. An enterprising security company, Imperva, did some analysis of all these passwords. Guess what they learned?
Your password probably isn’t strong enough. If you thought you were being clever by changing your super easy to guess password from “123456” (like 290,000 users had) to something more difficult like “123456789” you are in the same boat as the nearly 78,000 users who use that as their password. Oh, and “Password” was used by 62K users.
Some other not-so-clever passwords to avoid include:
What can you do to make your password more secure but not require a Ph.D. to remember? It needed be as difficult as you think:
- Make sure your password is 7 or more characters in length
- Change an easy to remember word by turning letters into numbers, e.g., password -> pa55word
- Use an upper case letter in a different spot, e.g., pa55wOrd
- Change a letter to a special character, e.g., p@55wOrd
- Use one or more spaces, e.g., This is my p@55wOrd
- Use really long sentences that are easy to remember and type, e.g., This will always be my p@55wOrd
- Change your password regularly. Did you know that February 1 is National Change Your Password Day? Or if that doesn’t work for you, change it twice a year when the time changes.
For most users, following 3 or more of the tips above will keep you safe on the Internet. But any system can be hacked. Once you develop a good password, don’t tape it to your monitor or beneath your keyboard.