In an age where individuals can have usernames and passwords to dozens of websites, forums, PCs, and mobile devices, and with increasing concerns over personal data security, it’s perhaps incredible that the number one most popular password is…’password’.
First of all, if you’re one of the many people out there using that eight character word as your password, go and change it and then come back to read the rest of this blog…
Ok, let’s continue.
So what makes a good password? It’s a question that will no doubt continue to plague humanity as more and more data is uploaded and stored online, whether that’s bank account details, embarrassing photos on Facebook, or plain old emails – well, it certainly something plaguing those individuals using the likes of ‘password’, ‘12345678’, or ‘abc123’ as their password.
Recently one of our IT department bods made an impassioned call for improvements to be made to employee passwords, and offered some top advice on how to create some robust examples:
Good passwords are over eight characters in length and contain a mix of the following:
Alpha-numerical characters (A-Z, 0-9)
Upper and lower case characters
It’s also a good idea not to use dates of birth or names of friends and loved ones, or even favourite movies and TV shows. Instead create passwords using a number of word combinations, for instance “T-he S-ecurityG-uardD-ownstairsI-sA G-rumpy P-erson” translates into the following mix of characters and symbols: 't$gd1aGp'.
Also, when you’re on the move, try not to log into bank sites or social media sites using a 3rd party public computer or free Wi-Fi point, and do not save passwords on public computers (Café’s, Hotels, Airports) as key logging scripts could be running.
Oh, and it’s a nice idea to change key passwords on a fairly regular basis too.
So how secure is your password? Do you use a heady and complex mix of alpha-numerical characters and symbols? Recently I stumbled on a site that claims to estimate how long it would take a desktop PC to crack any password. All you have to do is enter it into the input box, and howsecureismypassword.net does the rest – revealing the length of time, offering advice on how to make your password more secure, and whether it appears in the top 10,000 most popular passwords.
For the record, there’s definitely a wide gap in the security of my passwords, with one apparently capable of lasting up to just 3 hours against a hack from a single desktop PC, and another said to be strong enough to last up to 39 thousand years (and no, I’m not telling what they are!) However, if one of your passwords checked on the site is capable of holding off a hacking attack for 6 noventrigintillion years, then the chances are you’re probably being a tad too paranoid…