By Alan Graner
I know what your password is
The average user has between 30 and 60 online accounts, each requiring a password.
Now, you’re not going to tell me you have 60 different passwords unless, perhaps, you’re a Virgo.
You probably use the same password for most of your accounts, perhaps using more difficult passwords for sites like your bank and your credit cards. (Then again, maybe not.)
According to The Internet’s 25 Worst Passwords, and What They Say about You (http://www.slate.com/blogs/future_tense/2014/01/22/_25_worst_passwords_what_your_terrible_common_password_says_about_you.html, the top 10 passwords are:
No wonder most passwords are easy to crack, and once cybercriminals get in they can gain access to your bank accounts, credit cards, medical history and other sensitive data.
Even if you have a complex password, there are free password busters out there that can crack most of them—unless your password is 11 random characters, in which case it would take on average 100 years to crack it.
But let’s be real: Are you about to memorize some 60 passwords with 11 random characters?
Didn’t think so.
Oh, you can write them down and keep the list in a drawer…but what if you’re outside and can’t access the list?
In effect you’ve locked yourself out of your own accounts.
So most people say to hell with it and use their kid’s birthdate because it’s convenient and always accessible.
How to create difficult passwords you can remember
Believe it or not, it is possible to remember complex passwords as long as they’re not terribly long and you:
- Don’t use real words
- Use mnemonics. Create a short sentence and substitute numbers and symbols for letters For example, I like becomes I!ik@. (Your sentence should be a lot longer.) To create a unique password for each account, you can add a word at the end that begins with the same letter as your account, such as ba&$lz (bagels) for bank. The resulting password for your bank becomes: I!ik@ba&#lz.
- Understand long passwords are better than complex ones.
- Use a different password for each account
- Never use default passwords
Source: How to Create Secure Passwords You Can actually Remember by Lindsay Kolowich
Next: How to make your online passwords un-sucky
Image: Dan Lurie via Flickr®
Alan Graner is Chief Creative Officer at Daly-Swartz Public Relations, an Orange County, CA business marketing content and distribution firm. For content that makes you stick out from the crowd, email Jeffrey Swartz at firstname.lastname@example.org. Or visit www.dsprel.com.