Password Basics

Know the basics of creating strong passwords and ensure your data’s security.

As technologies evolve, so do hackers’ skills, but password security remains fundamental. The first line of defence against internet threats are passwords and users are given the responsibility to create their own. To avoid data breaches, it is important to get familiar with the password basics.

You may think you already know the fundamentals of creating a strong password, but all of us are guilty of occasionally avoiding the basic security standards. Even Facebook’s Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg was proven not only to use a simple password for his social accounts but to also use it more than once. When a LinkedIn database was compromised in 2012, more than 100 million user credentials were leaked, among which Zuckerberg’s “dadada” password. As he reused the same credential, hackers were also able to take over his Twitter and Pinterest accounts.

While you may think you’re in the clear, the list of top worst passwords of all time may surprise you. Yet, there are many ways to ensure security against data breaches. The password basics offer you more than one fundamental, yet simple steps to follow:

  • The length is vital – the longer the sentence, the stronger the password.
  • Another thing to remember is unpredictability, aka avoid using simple patterns, birthdays, your name or dictionary words.
  • A key to password security remains complexity – even if attackers know the phrases you use in your passwords, combinations of numbers, lower case letters, upper case letters and special characters make for more difficult breaches.

It may come as a surprise that against all the advice, changing your password every three months or so, increases your odds of getting hacked. It may result in you forgetting it easily and falling into simple patterns that are quick to crack. Websites such as Have I Been Pwned reveal over 7 billion compromised accounts, is yours one of them?

The rule of not using the same password for more than one account is golden. Hacking one of your credentials may cost you dearly, from social media to banking security breaches. Note that you should retain from allowing your browser to remember passwords for you. Instead of trusting Chrome, there are password manager options at your convenience. From Dashlane and 1Password to LastPass, all your passwords could be at your fingertips if you remember the one master key that unlocks the application.