Are your passwords secure?
Are your passwords secure?
Each time we sign up for a new service on the internet we are faced with the age-old dilemma of thinking up a unique password that will be as secure as Fort Knox. Then comes the predicament of remembering these long lists of highly complicated passwords. Maybe reusing passwords will make this job easier? Experts would advise against that.
Every year millions of users fall victim to hacking due to predictable passwords that can be guessed in an instant. This puts not only individuals but large corporations at risk of severe data breaches that can result in their complete downfall. So if you haven’t been thinking of the security of your passwords lately, maybe it is time to ask yourself the difficult and seemingly elusive question – “How secure are my passwords?”
How to Tell if your Passwords are Secure?
You may think your password is invincible against the forces of evil but maybe you are underestimating new technology. According to the length and complexity of your password, it can take a computer a few days or many centuries to crack it. How do you tell which one it is? Below are some ways you can ensure the security of your password.
The Usual Suspects
If you have been taking standard password instructions from websites a little too lightly then this is your cue to get serious about it. These usual advices provide relevant and useful guidelines for creating a solid protective barrier. The standard checklist includes:
- Choose a password that is 12 characters or more. Ensure that your password is at least 12-14 characters or longer. Longer passwords take more guesses to crack.
- Use special characters, numbers, lowercase, and capital letters. Mix up all these different kinds of characters to make it difficult to predict.
- Avoid Obvious Words. Make sure to stay far away from combinations of obvious words found in any dictionary.
Entropy is your Savior
While the usual suspects might give you some basic guidelines, they’re not exactly foolproof for advanced password security. A password such as LargeDuck%456 might meet all the above rules, but it makes for an unsecured password. Try upping the entropy of your password to overcome that.
You can increase the disorder by using a series of random words that make no sense grouped together, aka a passphrase. Since humans are generally terrible at being random, you can use a personal encryption method or Diceware to create a truly random sequence of words. This method combines length, easy recall value, and high entropy to create a relatively sound password.
Keep it Unique
Reusing passwords for multiple accounts may be the biggest sin as far as password security goes. If one of your passwords is cracked, all other accounts linked to it will also be compromised. If you have difficulties memorizing unique passwords then password managers are the best option to easily maintain a list of passwords protected through a single master-password.
While the strength of your password can protect you from threats to some extent, being careful on the internet also helps. You can enhance the security even more by being smart about your clicking habits and installing strong anti-malware tools. Meanwhile, companies need an even more advanced level of security that goes beyond password protection to ensure the safety of highly sensitive information.