How to Make Your Passwords More Secure
In an age where everything is digital, passwords are the keys to most of your information.
There is typically just a URL with an email address & password combination between you and your important data. Although MFA (Multi-Factor Authentication) is becoming more and more common, Single-Factor Authentication is still in use on an alarming number of websites making it critical that your passwords are as strong as possible.
Here’s the problem; so many people fail to use strong passwords, or they use the same mediocre passwords across many different platforms. This means that if someone compromised one account, they could very quickly gain access to your entire digital space.
Yes, there are more advanced tools, but in most online settings this seems too difficult for most people. So, how hard is it to make complicated passwords? Not at all, here’s how…
Making complex passwords
The first way you can be more secure is by using a password generator instead of creating your own passwords. No need to install any applications – there are some great online solutions that you can use to quickly generate fresh, secure passwords. Here are three of the tools we use at the office:
The reason that these tools are so useful is because people subconsciously use names which others can use social engineering to guess, such as “<pet’s name> <date of birth>”.
So, what makes a strong password?
There are quite a few techniques beyond just typing “password”. Microsoft has a nice way of showing you what works. This basis is that you use a random combination of characters, or a collection of obscure words.
While the above solution is helpful in the one off scenario, you will often need a means to store those passwords, especially if they are different. A cloud solution is best; so using something like OneNote, where you have one password that unlocks an entire book of passwords, can be really helpful.
However, there are also management systems that not only store passwords, but have the ability to generate them, such as LastPass or Passpack. These are great and because they typically have mobile apps, you can get all your passwords from anywhere in the world with an internet connection.
Just a note of caution: you may want to open that website with an InPrivate/incognito window or ensure that you log out when you’re finished just in case someone else gets into that device.
Which passwords don’t work?
This is the interesting part, while we couldn’t find data from 2015, here is the 2014 “worst passwords” list by SplashData:
It is incredible how many people use such simple passwords! Our favourite is No 25 – the irony.
Well, until two-factor authentication or retina scans are the de-facto form of identification, we suggest that you ensure your passwords are all strong and are different across the various devices/services you use. You should certainly ensure that everything is secured in an appropriate manner, and don’t leave your passwords on sticky notes for anyone to find! Use these easy principles to enjoy a peaceful night’s sleep knowing that there’s a much stronger line of defense between a hacker and your data, with far less worries about data loss.