Mirror, mirror on the wall, what is the safest password of them all?
We all know using a secure password is one of the best practices for protection on the web, but we don’t always practice what we preach. We’ve all been guilty of using our first street address or our first pet’s name as passwords, and dedicating that one login to all of our online accounts for the sake of simplicity. I can even admit that there was once a time that my phone was PIN-free—it’s just plain easier, and faster. I understand the long sigh that comes with having to sign in every time you want to use a device. However, it’s never a good idea to trade security for convenience, especially with devices or accounts that hold information as personal as your bank info or family address. Complex passwords help protect your online banking account, emails, and personal information from being accessed by prying eyes.
Yes, secure logins are a crucial layer for account protection, but in all honesty, humans are creatures of habit. We love to use the same password for multiple accounts, use easy-to-remember birthdays or nicknames, or simply don’t change default passwords on devices.
Recent breaches have reminded us that passwords should always take priority (they’re so important, we’ve acknowledged a World Password Day dedicated to changing your passwords!). History has shown us that hackers love and live for bad passwords, so using poor passwords for important accounts will increase your vulnerability to a hack. To make sure that you don’t a commit a security faux pas, check out this secure password checklist:
- Don’t Use a Real Word: If your password contains a word from the dictionary, nix it. Don’t use the name of your favorite flower or the name of your pet. Instead, consider using either a made-up word, mix of ‘slang’ words, or even gibberish. The more complicated, the better!
- Mix It Up: As almost all password readers are case-sensitive, consider using a mix of upper- and lowercase letters to be extra secure. Throw in some numbers and symbols to complicate the password, and stay away from your standard birthday or ‘123456’ password.
- Use the Default and You’ll Be At Fault: All “smart” devices are equipped with default passwords, from your new smart thermostat to the drone you just got for your birthday. As soon as you take your gadget out of the box and set it up for use, change the password immediately, and make sure you update these passwords regularly.
- “One Size Fits All” Doesn’t Apply: Don’t use the same password for multiple accounts. Although it may seem like a hassle to remember these passwords, the can’t-beat security will be worth the extra effort down the line. Password management solutions like True Key are helpful to keep track of all your login info, as well as generate secure, unique passwords for you.
It’s important to remember to change passwords early, and change them often, across all devices—this makes it extra difficult for cybercriminals to access your personal information. Protecting accounts and devices from their wired connection up to their web logins will help keep hackers at bay.