In this era of digital revolution, passwords act as the digital keys to your online house. For every online service you use, passwords serve as a helpful way to protect your private and personal information from online hackers and thieves. That’s why it’s essential that every person use strong passwords for their accounts to avoid being easily hacked. It can be a challenge, however, to create and remember passwords that other people and computer systems won’t be able to recognize. Here are a couple of life hacks you can follow to create and use good passwords.
Avoid using common or “random” words and phrases
When creating your passwords, you might feel the need to use “random” words or phrases, just to make it harder for any hacker to guess it. Unfortunately, this is a big trap that many people fall into. Most people use similar “random” words or phrases for their passwords, and so, a computer hacking program will have no trouble in figuring out your “random” phrase.
And if you’re using a string of phrases, you’re no better off. These programs will often try various combinations of different commonly used words or phrases to crack down on your password. Common words and phrases include using your own personal information, like a child’s birth date or a pet’s name, or using “random” dictionary words, like “monkey.”
Using part of a song lyric or a film quote also falls under this category, so don’t try to be clever and outsmart an algorithm.
Make your passwords long and complicated
A long and complicated password doesn’t necessarily mean using a mixed assortment of symbols and numbers (although this method can be an effective approach!). A strong password is usually longer than 8 characters, contains capital letters, and has special characters. Using these attributes will make your password more complex, which will prevent a computer hacking program from using their sneaky tricks.
One suggested tip would be to use a string of plain words and add special characters within the password. For example, “1luvpUpp13s!123” is a much stronger password than “ilovepuppies123.” Never use a bunch of plain words on their own because hackers will use “dictionary attacks” to figure out what regular words you are using.
Do not use the same password for other sites
Creating an effective password is definitely a hassle. So is making a different one for each online service you decide to use. Because of this, you may feel tempted to use the same password for the other sites you’re a part of.
Word of advice: Don’t do it. If a hacker manages to hack into one of your online accounts, they may quickly access all of your other ones, making it easy for these crooks to steal your personal information. You should also always change your password every three months, just to amp up your accounts’ protection.
Consider using a password manager
A good password manager is a life saver, especially if you have numerous online accounts. Apart from letting you know your password’s effectiveness, it also saves each password to help you remember them. This immediately spares you from having to write it all down on a paper or forcing you to memorize each one.
Of course, there is the option of allowing your browser to save and store your password, but even these can be hacked into by online crooks. With a password manager, you can avoid the predicament of dealing with stolen personal information and remembering countless passwords.
Keep away from security questions and hints
Unless you’re planning to use fake names, steer clear from security questions and password hints. Oftentimes, it’s easy to use an obvious hint to help us remember a forgotten password, but a hacker will quickly use the opportunity to make a guess and steal information.
Security questions are also redundant. In the digital age, questions about your first car or your dog’s name are instantly accessible online, whether through social media or a work website. Because of this, hints and security questions don’t add any difficulty in protecting your accounts and any private information you may have in them. So, why use them at all?
If you must create a security question or hint, make sure to use fake answers that no one else would be able to guess.
Passwords is one of the frustrating but necessary aspects of creating and using an online service. As technology continues to advance, password systems for different sites will continue to change. We, as online users, have to adapt to the continuous evolution of the online world, and make sure that our passwords reflect it.