If you’re like the typical businessperson, you can’t even begin to count the number of passwords you need for websites, servers and software. When there are so many passwords to remember, it can seem easier to only use easy-to-remember passwords, but the most common passwords are easy for identity thieves and hackers to guess.
Some of the most commonly used passwords may shock you at their simplicity, but unless you’re using a password generator, you could be using ones that are just as easily hacked.
How To Create A Strong Password: Basic Guide
Most Common Passwords
Data and identity thieves don’t even have to be hackers to log into accounts and wreak havoc on sensitive business emails and data.
Why? Because, in the interest of being able to remember all of those dozens of passwords people have to deal with on a daily basis, they tend to lean toward password combinations like these:
Password (yes, the password is “password”), ABC123, 123456, Monkey, Dragon, Iloveyou, Baseball, Sunshine, Football, Superman, 111111 etc.
How To Identifying Password Weaknesses
What do most of the most common keywords have in common? Here are a few patterns:
- They don’t combine numerals with letters and they don’t add punctuation.
- They’re common words and number patterns that are easy to guess.
- They’re published on lists as the most common passwords. If a hacker wants to guess how to access your account, they’re going to start with these. Change any of yours that appears on this list now!
Changing “password” to “passw0rd” isn’t enough. Adding a “1” to any of these words isn’t enough, either. You need to go the extra mile to keep your important business data, as well as your emails safe.
Password Creation Tips
Here are a few things to remember when creating your password:
- Never have just numbers or just letters. And when you do combine them, don’t add simple numbers to simple letters. In other words, “ABC123” is out. “25Max88” is better, but still not the most secure method.
- Don’t reuse passwords. Come up with a unique one for every website, server and software program you need to access because if you don’t, and a hacker guesses one, they’ll have access to all of these sensitive accounts.
- Add punctuation to keywords whenever possible. The more characters you use, the less likely someone is to guess it. Some applications even go so far as to require punctuation.
- Use a random string of letters, numbers and punctuation if possible. If you’re having trouble coming up with a good random string, use a generator. In seconds, you’ll be given large amounts of potential passwords to plug into accounts as needed so you won’t have to waste time coming up with them. Write down or type all of these passwords in a secure location; otherwise, rely on a password manager program to keep track of them.
When You Don’t Want Random Password
If the idea of completely random strings of numerals, letters and punctuation just isn’t something you can manage, there are a few methods of coming up with random-seeming passwords that have some significance to you and may be easier for you to remember. Try a few of these tips for more secure passwords:
- Think of an important date to you. If possible, stay away from anniversaries and birthdays; those are relatively simple for determined thieves to find. Put the date in numeral form, in either six or eight digits, for example, Oct. 7, 2006 can become 100706 or 10072006.
- Think of a word, name or short phrase that’s significant to you. Avoid those commonly used ones like “baseball,” and stay away from the names of your loved ones because if someone found you on a social media website, for example, they could then easily find those names.
- Pick two to three punctuations.
- Combine your date, word and punctuations at random intervals. For example, say you chose “100706,” “chili” and “?.,”. Put a letter from your word between each number, for example: “1c0h0i7l0i6.” Add punctuation at the beginning, middle and end: “?1c0h.0i7l0i6,”. Hackers are unlikely to guess a password this complex, but it will still have meaning to you.
If this method seems too complicated or you’re unlikely to remember this complex of a password even when the dates and words have meaning, just stick to the random generator. It’ll save you time and present you with secure passwords in seconds.