Our data could be stored on secure cloud storage and we access it through a computer with the best antivirus program. Many would feel safe thinking that they have done all the necessary steps to strengthen their online security and privacy. However, we could overlook one very important aspect that is using a reliable password. Hard to crack passwords are able to keep prying eyes away. Weak passwords could cause all of our shopping, online banking, email and social media accounts open for everyone to see. Bad passwords could compromise our online presence.
In this case, we should make sure that we use hard to guess passwords that are not so obvious. In this case, we should avoid using simple numbers, birth date and name. Many security problems could originate from our own home, college dorms, office and even from our own children. It may sound ridiculous, but among the most common passwords are “12345678” and “password”. Based on hackers’ file dumps, security experts have found that other common passwords used by computer users are qwerty, abc123, letmein, iloveyou, 11111, admin, welcome and password1.
We should learn from such a mistake and a truly secure password isn’t even consisted of real word. Plain words can be easily broken by brute force attacks. In this case, we should convert our own familiar sentence into a more cryptic one. As an example, we could change “I was Born in August” into Ias&Brn*Agt123.
Even today, many people are still using short passwords because they are much easier to memorize. In this case, size does matter and longer passwords are more secure. Many security experts have demonstrated how easy it is to break into common online accounts, because they have only short passwords. Even if we have used special characters, lowercase letters, uppercase letters and numbers; our passwords will be hacked more easily if they are too short. Studies show that most users are using passwords with less than seven characters. It is widely recommended to use at least 8 characters for our password.
It is also important to use more varied character set. We should use special characters, numbers, lowercase letters and uppercase letters. A combination of these characters will significantly complicate hackers’ efforts to crack our password. In order to improve the level of security, we should use 2-step authentication process. As an example, some accounts require us to incorporate our phone number. When setting up our Gmail account, we will be required to input our phone number. A confirmation will be sent through our text message. This can be quite annoying at first, but it will be very helpful when someone hijacked our account.
Another thing that we should consider is to avoid any phishing attempt. Hackers could deliberately create a website similar to the legitimate one. Uninformed computer users could unknowingly give hackers their passwords, user names and financial details. This allows hackers to log into their victim’s accounts and make illegal transactions, such as money transfer and expensive purchases.