Editorial

Published on April 20th, 2017 | by Guest

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Worst Practices in Choosing a Password

For some people, choosing a password seems quite easy. However, it seems that the worst ones are usually the most common. Passwords like ‘1234567’, ‘qwerty’ and ‘password’ are inexplicably still most often used. This means that an average hacker needs from 5 to 10 seconds to break them, using nothing other than some logical thinking. Unfortunately, this is not all there is to know about bad practices in choosing a password. Here are a few other things that might come in handy during your next sign-up.

Avoid personal information

Interestingly enough, the TV show Mr. Robot has thought us quite a bit about cyber-security. First of all, it revealed that password cracking software is usually looking for patterns. For starters, hackers try to find out as much as they can about the person whose password they’re about to crack. These are usually things like names and nicknames of children, names of pets, name of a favorite sports team and of course birthdays. It goes without saying that in order to make your password ironclad you’ll need to keep it as impersonal as possible. Furthermore, usual patterns (like those mentioned in the introduction) should be avoided at all costs, especially in combination with the abovementioned personal information.

Using one password across several platforms

On its own, this doesn’t diminish the strength of your password, but it does increase the risks of you getting hacked easier. You may be registered for several emails, half a dozen social networks and a blog here and there, so coming up with a password for each might be extremely difficult. Still, it is a difficulty you will have to deal with. Using the same password across various platforms means that if it gets compromised once, your entire online identity becomes endangered. Some people use variations of the same password in order to make it easier to memorize (like using ‘dodgers1’, ‘dodgers2’ and ‘dodgers3’ as passwords for three different websites), but even this is not advised.

Password strength is not all that matters

Another thing you need to keep in mind is that the strength of the password alone is not all that matters. What good is even the strongest, most unpredictable password if you share it with someone unreliable, don’t notice a phishing scam in time or use it on an unsecure network. When accessing your data outside of your home, you need to make sure you do it over reliable remote desktop. Finally, when sharing your password with someone, you need to make sure that the channel is secure enough. For example, you could send an email containing your password to another party, and the security breach could occur at the other end.

Going too random

Ok, this will sound a bit twofaced. On one hand, we strongly advocated randomizing your passwords, but all of a sudden too random is not a good idea? Well, there is a perfectly reasonable explanation for this. You see, by going too random you are putting yourself at risk of forgetting your password. A solution to this particular problem would be to write them all down somewhere, but then this file (or a piece of paper) becomes a liability. By sticking to a meaningful password, you are increasing the chance of memorizing it.

Conclusion

In the end, it is more than clear that choosing a suitable password is not a laughing matter. With cyber security becoming more and more of an issue, hackers are spending a lot of time researching patterns and developing new software that could help them access your most sensitive data. It is your job not to allow this to happen and for that, you must know what you are up against. We hope that knowing at least some of the abovementioned practices will help you choose your next password carefully.

 

About the author:

Dan Radak is a marketing professional with eleven years of experience. He is currently working with a number of companies in the field of digital marketing, closely collaborating with a couple of e-commerce companies. He is also a coauthor on several technology websites and regular contributor to Technivorz.

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