Since at least 2014 Google has been encouraging websites to go secure by using https (installing a Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) Certificate). Just recently they have indicated that it is becoming increasingly important in their search ranking algorithm.
What does that mean? It means you should change your site to SSL. It is not a difficult process. First you install the certificate and then you tell your pages to all use SSL only. Need help? We can handle it for our hosting clients quite easily and even if you’re not our client, we can probably help you out.
A few years ago Google made all of its search secure. Check it out for yourself. When you go to google.com, you’ll find yourself at https://www.google.com. There will always be that https. The general assumption was, because it was encrypting the data, it would affect the speed, even if it was just a little. But it didn’t. So if there is no change in performance in going from non-secure to secure, why not make the whole Internet secure? That seems to be Google’s plan and it isn’t a bad one. Once Google realized it didn’t really affect the speed for their site, they began increasing the expectation of security in their search algorithm. And it has reached the point where sites focusing on search rankings really need to make their site secure.
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.