Is your password strong enough?

Is your password strong enough?

It can’t be stressed enough how important it is to have a strong password. It may be the bane of your life trying to have a unique strong password but just like taxes they are here to stay.

Your passwords are the only thing keeping others taking control of your website, social media accounts, bank accounts and anything else you control online and yet it’s one of those things people blindly believe they are exempt from with their “secure” password of “teddythedog”, sadly your wrong!

Users are not the only people to blame though, companies and online services make it all too easy to use a simple password, making it very easy for somebody to access an account.

Splashdata a security firm recently analysed 3.3 million leaked passwords that were exposed during 2014, they found that most of the passwords were from North America and Western Europe. The top 25 most common passwords (and not suitable for use) were:

So what makes a strong password?

Brute forcing is a term used to describe a computer programme that will try thousands of known passwords until eventually it gains access. The time it would take for a computer to brute force depends on several things such as the strength of the password and the power of the machine. For example, an account with the password “teddythedog” could potentially be brute forced in just 55 seconds! A slightly stronger (but not much stronger) password of “p6Gt7ad” would only take 14 days to be brute forced.

A strong password needs to be complex, containing uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers & symbols. A strong password should also be long, the longer the better. The password “h&sj(hv%4av*” would take 10000+ centuries to be cracked, but a password like that causes another issue, it’s not memorable.

What’s the solution?

Sadly there is no guaranteed solution, but there are methods you can use to greatly increase your passwords strength such as:

Never use the same password twice.

If you use the same password for different accounts and the password is compromised they could have access to every account that uses that password.

If the service offers a 2 step verification.

2 Step Verification is another level of security offered by some services such as Google. It is usually in the form of a SMS sent to your phone with a unique code which must be entered to gain access to the account.

Use passwords with a mixture of uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers and symbols.

The longer the better (at least 8 characters), avoid sequences of numbers and real words, and don’t forget to use symbols such as * ^ ~.

Use a password manager.

A decent password manager such as 1Password can make all of the above easier. They can generate strong complex passwords for you and store them – with easy copy and pasting of your passwords. Some password managers also have the ability to work with your browser and log you into your accounts with a single click so you don’t even have to try and remember your password of “$hSPwq(95fd£1/*wqO8”.

A secure password and 2 step verification (if available), can save you losing access to all your online accounts and websites, and in the long run a lot of headaches too!

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