Since people are creatures of habit, we often use the same usernames and reuse passwords from account to account. We do this, so we can remember them but here lies the problem with security. Common, easy, and even personal passwords are used far too often and can be compromised easily.
Common passwords such as Password1 should never be used as they are the first ones a hacker tries. Hackers have the technology that will allow them to test passwords multiple times very quickly called a brute force attack. After the common set of known passwords list has been tried, the next phase of their infiltration attempts begins.
Easy passwords are considered short, complete words, and ones without special characters. Hackers are aware that people simply change from lower case to upper case to protect their passwords and have programs that will try these variables. They are even aware that with complete words people will change letters into common special characters like @ for A and $ for S. This tactic is considered a dictionary attack where it will take words and try the different variables of upper and lower case with special characters (P@$$word1).
Personal passwords are also not recommended since there is so much personal data available online. Previous living locations can be found through county offices, family members may be found through social media, and that online quiz you just finished to see what super hero you are now has your first pet’s name.
So what do we recommend for a password? We recommend passwords longer than 12 characters that are not words, enabling another layer of authentication after providing your credentials, or you can try a password management service. Passwords that are longer add more variables than a password with the minimum of 8 characters to make it more difficult to crack. Additional authentication methods after login credentials, like entering in a code that is texted to you, is also recommended. This ensures that even if your password is compromised, an additional security layer must be passed. Lastly consider a password manager. These services create random passwords for you and provide you a secure location to store and retrieve them. Always remember that even these password management services require a strong password so make it a good one!
One tactic that we can recommend for creating a memorable password is to make a password out of a sentence or phrase that is personal to you . See below:
My Cox Cable Log In For 2018 = Mcclinf2018! (utilized the first letter of each word, the year, and a special character)
Don’t forget the eggnog for Christmas = Dofothegfoch!09 (utilized the first 2 letters of each word, special character for importance, plus the numbers of the year when you forgot to bring the eggnog)