F – Frequent Password Mistakes, and How to Fix Them

When so many sites require their own accounts, it’s easy to fall into bad habits. Upon each new registration, there’s always the temptation to just “come up with something easy.” Unfortunately, if it’s easy to make up and remember, it’s probably also easy to hack. By addressing a few common mistakes, however, users can greatly improve their account security. 

First, avoid using personal information or common words when creating passwords. Hackers will always try the easiest solution first, and common phrases such as “letmein” offer lite protection. Furthermore, if an attacker is targeting specific individuals, they will first guess using the most obvious information; this includes birthdays, names, addresses, and phone numbers. 

Second, make sure passwords aren’t too simple. Though it’s easiest to remember short or word-based passwords, these are also the easiest to crack. Instead, it may be useful to use mnemonics, substituting a short sentence or phrase with letters in the place of each word. This creates a more random-seeming password and takes far longer for attackers to crack. 

Third, avoid reusing passwords. If a website’s database is breached, they will usually require their users to perform password resets; however, this only helps the site which has been attacked. If users reuse their passwords, attackers can use the leaked data on other sites to continue wreaking havoc and stealing data. 

By applying good practices to each password, users can ensure their online presence is far safer and more secure. However, the temptation to use easier passwords may persist. Instead of formulating creative passwords for every site, users may do this just once to create one “master-password,” and use a password manager software to create and store the rest. LastPass, Myki, and LogMeOnce are a few of the best free password managers on the market today. Try installing these password managers to make sure that every password is a strong password.  

Author: Grey Ruessler, IT User Services