Passwords are a ubiquitous part of our lives! There is no getting around that. However, there are some important reasons to have a password that is strong. Before we get into those reasons, let me first give a definition for a strong password:
A Strong Password is a password that possesses a mix of length, complexity, and unpredictability.
An example of a Strong Password could be using your pet’s name and the date of your first cavity in a complex manner – like this:
The above example has my pet’s name, Fido, and the date of my first cavity, March 2014. Now obviously I don’t have a pet – so all you hackers reading this can keep guessing on my real password. However, it is important make sure you create a strong password that makes sense to you, but to everyone else looks like pure gibberish. But why?
I’m glad you asked! Here are three great reasons:
- You probably use online banking and possibly even online brokerage. What if someone was to guess your password, how much money could they transfer out before you or the bank noticed?
- You use email for everything! In this day and age we have a myriad of information emailed to us, tax returns, medical information, and utility bills. All this information can be extremely detrimental to you if they wrong people get their hands on it.
- Your company might have a really amazing trade secret or project that you are working on . Having a weak password could allow an open portal for people to access your Company’s information, and thereby putting you in an uncomfortable seat of liability.
Passwords are easy to set and update. I recommend keeping your passwords strong and changing them every 90 days. It is a small inconvenience that can reap major protection later.
For some fun, I wanted to include some of the worst passwords. SplashData’s annual list of the worst passwords is gleaned from hacked file dumps, and hasn’t changed much over last year. The most common stolen password is still “123456,” which edged out perennial groaner “password.” Other top picks in the an alphanumeric hall of shame are “12345678,” “qwerty,” “monkey” and new this year, “batman.” According to security expert Mark Burnett, the top 25 bad passwords represent an eye-popping 2.2 percent of all passwords exposed.
So set a STRONG PASSWORD today!
HERE ARE TWO REALLY INTERESTING FACTS ON PASSWORDS:
Fact: 73% of users have the same password for multiple sites, 33% use the same password every time.
When it comes to security breaches, we’ve seen an escalation of security breaches. Even major brands have had systems compromised exposing user passwords. While administrators quickly respond and notify users by forcing password changes, their efforts are limited to their own site.
Changing a password with one site is not always enough. Chances are that compromised passwords are used elsewhere, leaving users vulnerable to hackers.
Fact: Every extra character in your password increases the difficulty for hackers to crack it.
The most commonly used password is…123456.
And it’s closely followed by just as insecure passwords like “password”, “welcome”, and “12345″.
Think one extra letter or number doesn’t mean much? Consider this:
- A 6-character password with only letters has 308,915,776 possible combinations.
- An 8-character password with only letters has 208,827,064,576 possible combinations.
- An 8-character password with letters (upper & lower case) and includes numbersand symbols has 6,095,689,385,410,816 possible combinations.
- There is real strength in numbers…or in this case, extra characters required by strong password policies passwords.