The subject of online security has been in the news a lot lately, with several high-profile breaches being announced including the Heartbleed Bug back in April, and more recently eBay and retail giant Office came under attack from hackers.
One common theme to come out of these attacks is the importance of having strong passwords and not using the same password on multiple sites. So we thought we would provide you with some tips and advice on creating and managing your passwords.
- Choose a password with a combination of upper and lower case letters, numbers and keyboard symbols
- Choose longer passwords as they are harder for hackers to guess, so try choosing something that is at least eight characters
- Change your passwords regularly
- Make your new passwords significantly different from previous ones
- Your username, real name or company name
- Family members’ or pets’ names
- Your birthday or family birthdays
- A complete word (replace some of the letters with numbers or keyboard symbols)
- Sequences of letters like abcdefgh
- Ascending or descending numerical sequences such as 1234 or 4321, or duplicated numbers such as 1111
- The same password on every website. A hacker only needs to break one, and they can access everything
- A common word that you would find in a dictionary. Hacking programs are becoming more sophisticated and can easily crack these
- Don’t re-use the same password and simply add a number on the end (e.g. password1, password2)
- Don’t base your password on the name of the website or application you are using, e.g. adobe123
But how do you choose something that you will remember?
Most people struggle to remember a jumble of letters and numbers. The key is to choose a password that is relevant to you; that’s why choosing your favourite song lyric or your favourite film works so well. For example:
- Choose your favourite film and try writing it with different characters such as [email protected]
- Try choosing the lyrics of a song, and use the first letter of each word. Don’t forget to add a number or keyboard symbol (e.g. [email protected] is Jingle bells jungle bells jingle all the way)
- Pick a phrase that means something to you and use it to create an acronym, substituting letters for number and symbols. For example My wedding anniversary is on 8th August could become [email protected]/08.
Top 10 worst passwords
SplashData has put together a list of the 25 worst passwords used online during 2013. Here are the top 10:
If you have any questions, please feel free to get in touch with one of our experts. Feel free to share these tips or comment below.