The connected devices we use every day have become critical to our lives. The phone in your pocket has access to all the information in the world, and the apps you use handle everything from tracking fitness to managing your money. Being constantly connected is great in some ways, but it does open us up to threats from hackers and cyber criminals.
The information you put online is a tempting target for people who are up to no good, and your passwords are the only thing that stands between them and your sensitive data. This becomes an even larger problem for enterprises who rely on passwords to protect confidential and critical properties. Creating a strong password is the key to keeping your personal and professional data safe. To help out, we’re going to go over a few simple tips for building stronger passwords.
Choose a Longer Password
The simplest thing you can do to create a strong password is to make it longer. The longer a password, the harder it will be for a hacker to guess. The time it takes for a computer to break through a password grows exponentially as the password gets longer. So, a password that’s short and simple (4-6 characters long) can be cracked in a matter of seconds. A longer 8-character password could take around eight hours to crack. Meanwhile, an 18-character password could take up to 438 trillion years to hack.
Of course, long passwords are tough to remember, and having to write your passwords down automatically makes them unsecure. The ideal password is around 10-12 characters long. That’s long enough to offer good protection, but short enough to be memorable.
Use a Combination of Numbers, Letters and Symbols
Your 10-12 character password should contain a mix of lowercase letters, uppercase letters, numbers and symbols.
Passwords that are only made up of numbers are the least secure. Even if they’re 10-12 characters long, number-only passwords can be cracked in a matter of seconds. Likewise, passwords made up of lowercase letters can be cracked in minutes. It’s not until you mix letters, numbers and symbols that your password begins to become secure. For instance, it would take 5 years to crack a 10-character password that uses a mixture of upper and lowercase letters, numbers and symbols.
Avoid Including Personal Information
While the average hacker could break through a weak password in a few seconds, not all hacking attempts are as straightforward. Where there is a personalised attack, the hacker will often gather information about you from around the internet. Just by browsing your social media profiles, a hacker could learn all sorts of important information that you might have used to create a password.
To minimise the risk, you’ll need to avoid creating a password that contains any personal information. Don’t use any of the following as part of your passwords:
- Birthdays (including your own and those of the people around you)
- Words or phrases related to hobbies
- The names of pets
- Yours or a family members’ name
- Any part of your home address
Don’t Reuse Passwords
Creating a secure password isn’t difficult. Remembering your secure passwords can be more of a challenge. And, when every app and online service requires its own password, trying to remember dozens of unique, 12-character passwords would be impossible.
For most people this means they end up reusing passwords. Or they reuse passwords with minor variations. This creates an obvious problem – if a hacker can obtain one of your passwords, they will be able to access other accounts as well. Best practice is to never reuse passwords for multiple services. If you’re going to use variations of the same password, make sure the variants are sufficiently different that they can’t be quickly guessed by a hacker.
Create Strong Passwords and Protect Your Business with Surety IT!
If you’re struggling to remember all your passwords, a secure password manager can be an effective part of your cyber security strategy. Password managers offer strong encryption that protects your accounts from unwanted intruders. The right passwords and management systems can protect all your critical business information from unwanted eyes. Surety IT works with businesses throughout Brisbane, Melbourne and Sydney, providing cyber security and IT consulting solutions. We work closely with each client, designing systems that meet the needs of your business to protect your most sensitive data. Contact us today to find out more or to make an appointment!