Technology is growing like crazy; every day new techs are coming to amaze us. But, all is worth if this high-tech is used for a good purpose. Nowadays, there are so many tools and tricks to hack into someone’s social or email accounts. This is a wrong use of technology, and you can’t change it. You can’t make everyone good. So, what is the solution?
The solution is to safeguard yourself, and when it comes to online accounts, you must secure them using strong passwords and implementing various other protective measures such as 2 Factor Authentication, and others.
In this article, I am discussing the importance of a strong password, the characteristics of a strong password, and how you can choose a strong password as well. So. let’s go ahead…
Why Strong Passwords Are Important?
While going out of the home, we take care of its security by using the best and multiple locks, isn’t it?
Because our home has valuable things that need to be protected from thieves. In the same way, using strong passwords for all of your online and bank accounts is important to guard them against hackers which are digital thieves. It is important because your email and social accounts are personal, and you never know if a hacker hacks it, and misuse it. And, you will face the consequences. Also, if they hack into your banking account, your money can be stolen as well. Thus, it is quite important to have strong passwords to secure your accounts.
Since I have been working online for years, I came to know many people including my family members and clients are using weak passwords just because they find those passwords easy to remember. But, if a password is easy to remember, it means that is not strong enough, can can be hacked easily by expert hackers.
Many people are using poor passwords like names, date of birth, nicknames, and numbers 1-10 which are easily predictable. Passwords can be cracked in a variety of ways which we will be discussing in the next section of this article.
- Change Yours Often.
- Do Not Share Them With Anyone.
- Be Mysterious.
- The Longer The Better.
- Do Not Leave Yours Lying Around.
Some Password Statistics
- In 2022, hackers exposed over 24 billion passwords.
- More than 80% of confirmed breaches are attributed to stolen, weak, or reused passwords.
- Nearly 60% of individuals strengthen their passwords upon noticing unauthorized access to their accounts or devices.
- 91% of people acknowledge that reusing passwords poses a significant security risk.
On average, it takes 14 seconds to input a password.
- Only 50% of internet users possess some knowledge of best practices in password security.
- Users who don’t utilize password managers are three times more likely to fall victim to identity theft.
- Approximately 30% of internet users have encountered a data breach due to weak passwords.
- Two-thirds of Americans use identical passwords across multiple accounts.
- The most commonly used password remains “123456.”
- 59% of US adults incorporate birthdays or names into their passwords.
- 13% of Americans admit to using the same password for all their accounts.
- Number of online accounts that an average user has: 25
- Number of passwords that an average user has: 6.5
- % of US consumers that use 1-2 password across all sites: 66%
- Number of times an average user login per day: 8
- Average password length: 8
- % of users that use personally meaningful words: 54.9%
- % of users that use the ‘Remember my password’ function: 28.6%
- % of users that write down their password: 15%
- The average time users maintain the same password: 31 months.
Sources of the statistics: Microsoft, Lastpass, Digital Shadows, security.org, and others…
Tips to Create Strong Password (How to Create Strong Password?)
We have discussed the importance of strong passwords and also had a look at the statistics of breaches that are related to stolen passwords. So, let’s find out how to create strong passwords to strengthen your online security.
- Password Length Matters: You know when someone tries a Brute-force attack to crack the password, the lengthy passwords are hard to crack this way. So, always try to use the password more than 12-13 characters. The longer the better, and harder to crack.
- Mix Characters: Even if you keep a lengthy password, you must make sure that it does not have only numbers or characters. You must use a combination of uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers, and special characters (@, #, $, %, etc.). Mix them well, to create a tough password. For example, you can try @TtW84$1tech(Tr!cK)! If you see, this password has special characters, numbers, and letters. This can be considered as a good strong password
- Avoid Personal Information: I always recommend you not to include any of your personal information in your password because your information is everywhere, and hackers are smart, they can make combinations to hack your password. Avoid including guessable information like your name, kidsnames, birthdate, or common words.
- Passphrase Creation: Consider using a passphrase—a sequence of words that is easy for you to remember but difficult for others to guess. For instance, “PurpleElephant$Jumping@2.“. Practice a passphrase password with blank spaces or hyphens like “My favorite and lucky number is 5 and 7” or its short form like “mfalni5a7”. These are unique, and nothing relates to your personal information, so it would be difficult for the hacker to crack it.
- Misspell Intentionally: Consider intentional misspellings or substitutions in your passwords to add complexity and uniqueness. This is really a unique way to generate strong passwords.
- Use Acronyms or Mnemonics: Create passwords based on acronyms or phrases that only make sense to you. For instance, “ILuv2R!deB!ke$.“
- Combine Unrelated Words: Mix unrelated words or phrases to create a longer, less predictable password. For example, “CoffeeRainbowHiking42!” This is easy to remember but still tough to guess.
- Randomize: Generate random strings using a password manager or online generator for added complexity and security.
- Test Your Passwords: When you choose a password, you can try testing your password to know how strong is it. You can use a password manager to check the strength of your passwords before use or you can one offered by Security.org.
Things to Avoid While Creating a Password
Now, you know how to generate strong passwords. That itself says a lot about what you should avoid while choosing one. Moreover, I thought to list separately what you must avoid while creating passwords.
- Avoid Common Passwords: You must always avoid the common phrases that are easy to guess such as “password,” “123456,” or “qwerty”, your name or anything that is visible on your profiles.
- Personal Information: Let’s see the example of your Facebook account; you have your name, DOB, spouse’s name, and even your kid’s name would be there as well. That means these are publicly available. So, never include this information to generate your password because hackers may scan your profile first to get more ideas about you, and then they use certain tools to generate different passwords. And, most likely they will be able to crack your password if you have included this information.
- Dictionary Words: Refrain from using complete dictionary words in any language, as these are more susceptible to dictionary-based attacks. To put this simple, you must not use any meaningful word as your password because disctionary-based attack may crack it in few tries.
- Repetitive Characters: Avoid using repetitive characters or strings like “AAA” or “123123” as they are easily guessable.
- Common Phrases: Don’t use well-known phrases, famous quotes, or easily identifiable song lyrics as your password.
- Obvious Substitutions: Avoid simple character substitutions like replacing “o” with “0” or “l” with “1,” as these are pretty much predictable.
- Shared or Default Passwords: Never use default or widely known default passwords provided by websites or services. Many websites offer default passwords, and they advise you to change it, but many people don’t change it, and they get hacked. So, don’t use default one; as long as you get it, change it.
- Short and Simple: Avoid short and overly simplistic passwords that are easily guessable or cracked in a short amount of time.
- Year-Based Passwords: Refrain from using years like your birth year or current year as part of your password.
- Storing Passwords Insecurely: Avoid storing passwords in an unencrypted format, especially in easily accessible documents or notes.
- Sharing or Reusing Passwords: Never share your passwords with others and avoid reusing passwords across multiple accounts to prevent widespread compromise if one account is breached. Many people nowadays have multiple accounts on the internet, for example, Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Email, and at other places, and they keep the same password on all these platforms. This can be dangerous as if somehow your one account is hacked, your other accounts will be at risk as well.
Additional Tips to Use Your Password Safely
- If you are not able to manage so many passwords well, try using a good Password Manager which keeps your password safe and secure. They notify you of any issues with passwords as well.
- Password cache in the windows is not secure, so avoid enabling the “save password” option.
- Avoid noting down your passwords anywhere as they can get into the wrong hands.
- Don’t send the passwords through mail, phone messages, or another unsecured channel.
- Avoid entering passwords while using Public Wifi or if you are using someone else’s computer or in a cybercafe.
A strong password is informal to remember and difficult to guess. Since the password is like a key to access your social media accounts, bank accounts, email accounts, etc. it is essential to create strong passwords to protect your valuable information. If you don’t care to create a strong password, hackers or scammers will be able to crack it easily.
In the same way, you use a strong lock to safeguard your house, you should use a strong password to safeguard your online accounts.
Just practice complex passwords with some special characters for your computer and online accounts. Create a unique password for every website where you access the data. Fill with difficult answers while answering to the security question of password creation to make the hackers tough to predict your password. Be sure to log off properly from the websites you are accessing and alter their passwords frequently.
I hope this article will help you understand more about passwords, its importance and how to choose the best strong passwords to safeguard your accounts.