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How Secure Is My Password?

Pretty much every website, application and device requires a password now. And it’s not easy remembering different passwords for dozens of these portals. So, understandably, you decide that the best thing to do is to use the same password for everything. Makes sense, right? But are there consequences? Are you part of the large group of people questioning ‘how secure is my password?’

How secure is my password? – When is a password not secure?

Having the same password for everything is bad enough. Having a common password is even worse. There are certain passwords out there that most of us are guilty of using at least once. Here’s a list of the top ten most common passwords:

  • 123456
  • password
  • 12345678
  • qwerty
  • abc123
  • 123456789
  • 111111
  • 1234567
  • iloveyou
  • adobe123

Personally for me, ‘password’ is the worst offender. Somewhere along the way, someone thought it would be a smart idea to literally make their password, password. Now it’s used by millions around the world as the standard key to information. The fact is, if you use one of the above as your password for anything, you run a huge risk of losing everything under that account. In the past, there have actually been cases where whole softwares have been hacked into. Just because many of the users did not use secure passwords. An extremely good example of this is in 2013. When Adobe suffered a huge breach of security in which a massive 150 million users were affected.

But how secure is my password?

Thankfully, there are many free password security checkers available to use online. Some of these include howsecureismypassword.net and passwordmeter.com. These tell you how long it would take to crack your password, what makes it a secure password and what you can do to improve it.

How secure is my password? What to do and what not to do.

Do not:

  • Use personal information such as names, places or hobbies and interests. This could easily be found out, especially from someone who knows you.

Do:

  • Make them as long as possible without being ridiculous. The longer the password, the more complex the password is. This makes it harder to figure out.
  • Try to have a different password for every account you have. If someone were to find out your password for one account that would mean that they would have access to every single account you have. Understandably, this isn’t good news.
  • Use a secure password management tool such as 1Password.
  • Ensure that your most secure passwords are used for the accounts that need the most security. For example, if you use online banking try to make this password as complicated as possible.
  • Use a combination of lower case letters, upper case letters, numbers and symbols. Though, with that being said, making your password p@$$w0rd instead of password, is just as insecure.
  • On mobile devices use an alphabetical password as opposed to a PIN password. For PIN passwords people usually choose a meaningful date or a debit/credit card PIN.  Dates can easily be found out and using a card PIN is just plain nonsensical.

Do also:

  • Use “two-step authentication.” This means that when you sign into a new device you are normally asked to retrieve a code. This code will be sent to your mobile phone as text message to prove who you are.
  • If you have to share a password, use a site like OneTimeSecret. The site creates a link to a page with your password info (or whatever info you choose, really), and once the page is viewed once, it is gone forever.
  • Don’t ‘save’ passwords or choose to ‘remember me.’ If someone gets a hold of that device that means that they can access any account that you have saved.

Why bother?

Each account you sign up to contains some sort of personal information. Whether it be something as simple as your name. Or as precious as your bank details. But a breach to any of this information could be potentially devastating. It doesn’t take much time to create a secure password. As long as you remember it then unless the world’s best password hacker is personally targeting you – there shouldn’t be a problem.

 

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