According to NordPass, it seems that despite it being 2022 and with there being so many stories of people getting phished, scammed, and seeing databases breached, people are still using passwords that aren’t that difficult to guess.
Based on their list of the 200 most common passwords in 2021, there are still over 100 million online accounts that they found that still rely on 123456 as the password of choice. In fact, the top 3 involve the numbers 12345, followed by “qwerty” in fourth place, and the clever use of “password” in fifth place.
That being said, we get it. Creating a unique and hard-to-guess password for each and every single online account can be tedious, but unless you want your accounts to be potentially hacked, then here’s what you need to know to create a strong password for yourself.
Creating a strong password
- Choose a minimum of 12 characters – The reasoning behind this is because the longer the password, the more possibilities there are in terms of its combination of characters. This means that if a hacker were to use a brute force attack to try and guess your password, it would take them much longer compared to a 6-character or 8-character password.
- Combine both alphabets and numbers – Once again, this ties back to the above method where having a combination of alphabets and numbers increases the possibilities.
- Add special characters like !, @, #, ? where possible – This adds complexity to your passwords where once again, the addition of characters outside of alphabets and numbers increases the possibilities which in turn makes it harder for a brute force attack to figure out your password
- Avoid personal information – Using your name, initials, or date of birth seems like it might be clever and an easy way for you to remember your passwords, but seeing as how that information is so readily available online via your social media profiles, it might be one of the first things an attacker might try.
- Avoid commonly used words or phrases – Commonly used words or phrases might help you remember your password, but it’s not as clever as you might think. For example, “opensesame” seems like it would be a clever password, but if you could think of it, who’s to say someone else couldn’t?
- Use a password manager to generate secure passwords – One of the features that many password managers offer is the ability to generate passwords for you. These are randomly generated passwords that you can choose whether you want to include special characters, numbers, a combination of upper and lower cases, and also length. While it might seem like it would be impossible to memorize, that’s another feature of password managers where they can not only generate passwords, but remember it for you so you don’t have to.
A lot of the advice above seems like common sense, but more often than not it’s not often practiced. Perhaps some people don’t think their accounts will ever get hacked, or that some of their accounts aren’t important enough where they don’t care if it gets hacked, but it’s still good practice anyway.
If you’re wondering if your accounts might have ever been breached or are in danger of being breached, you can go to “Have I been pwned” and enter your email to check against a database of known breaches.