A lot of us have sensitive personal information posted on the Internet. While our definition of ‘sensitive’ varies, there are just some things such as notes and photos that we don’t want to be shared publicly but we like to keep in our profile pages anyway. In this age of widespread hacking, identity theft, and cybercrime, we have to be careful with our online accounts. The first and most important step in this is creating a strong password.
For those of you who’ve never even thought of changing passwords before, or if you’re still on the fence on exactly why you should change your password right now, let me give you the most common weak points of frequently used passwords.
- It is a real word that is found in dictionaries. By far, the easiest type of password to crack since a hacking program only needs basic Internet access and then it will try putting in every word found in an online dictionary. It doesn’t matter if it’s a word in a different language; it’s still a real word, found in a real dictionary, that links to your real account.
- It is a widely known piece of personal information. Some examples of this would be your birthday, your phone number, your pet’s name, or even your favorite color. Anything that can easily be linked to you is going to be easy to crack.
- It is a monotonous string of lowercase letters. While some websites require passwords to have at least one capital letter, one number and/or one special symbol, other websites don’t. Facebook and Twitter are examples of such websites where a
password made purely of lowercase letters is perfectly acceptable. Passwords made only of lowercase characters are much easier to crack than passwords made of a combination of letters, symbols, and numbers.
- It is a sequential string of characters. This includes 1234, qwerty, abcde, asdf, and the likes. Sequential strings are also easily decipherable by most hacking programs.
- It is “password”. No other explanation is needed.
Most people would be guilty of at least one of the above weak points. If you’re one of those people, don’t worry, the next part of the Password 101 series will help you in creating a strong and secure password that you won’t have trouble remembering. You can click on this link to go to the next part and you can also go ahead and leave a comment if you’re guilty of having a password that’s easily decipherable. They say admittance is the first step to recovery, right?