As you establish your web presence, you may be surprised at how many accounts and passwords you need to create (your website builder, your server log-in, your e-mail accounts, etc.). Your web presence is an asset that you need to protect, the same way you would lock up your business doors every night. The web is full of cyber criminals, and it has never been more important to pay attention to the security of your passwords. Did you know that there are lists on the Internet that might contain your website and password? This gives everyone who has access to those lists the possibility to change your website content.
In addition, simple passwords are very easy to crack, such as numbers or dictionary entries. In fact, hackers can use so-called “dictionary attacks”: in just 26 seconds, 120,000 references of a dictionary can be tested as a password. If the password is a given name, password hackers only need 18 seconds to find it among 86,000 names. If there are numbers attached, this password is at least safe for a few minutes.
Which passwords are secure?
The simpler and more obvious a password, the easier it is to crack. Stick to a few simple rules:
- Do NOT use numbers, birthdays or any personal information, e.g. “123456” or “09251978.”
- Do NOT use obvious words or combinations, e.g. “password,” “qwerty” or “admin.”
- Do NOT use dictionary entries or names, e.g. “Jane” or “cocacola.”
- Choose passwords that have at least 8 characters.
- Your passwords should consist of a seemingly random combination of letters (lower and uppercase), numbers and special characters.
- Choose a different password for every website or system.
How do you create and remember your secure passwords?
The best way to create and remember many different passwords is to create a master password that you can slightly alter for every website or system.
1. Think of an easy-to-remember sentence and take the first letters of each word (lower and uppercase), numbers and special characters (!, &, $, -,#…). For example: In ’97, we were on vacation in Spain! This results in “I’97wwoviS!,” which is now your master password.
2. In order to easily remember what you use this password for, add an abbreviation for each website or system. For example: “I’97wwoviS!_WiLo” for your Windows login, or “On_ I’97wwoviS!_Ba” for your online banking account.
3. Important: Never write your password down anywhere! Alternatively, you can also use a password manager, along with a password generator. Some freeware suggestions: KeePass and Password Safe.
And what if your password is on a hacker’s list in spite of all precautions?
- Change your password every 90 days if possible.
Photo Credit: Vladislav Kochelaevs – Fotolia.com