For most digital devices and services, your password serves as the front line of defense against intruders. It’s hard to believe that many users forgo this most basic of safety features, throw caution to the wind and leave themselves open to predatory attacks. In the same way that you wouldn’t leave the front door of your house unlocked every night, it’s important to guard your information with a password. To take things one step further, you should craft a memorable, hard-to-guess keyword, because having a bad password can be just as bad as not having one at all.
So what are some common pitfalls when it comes to creating a great password? You can start by checking your current one against this list. Were you surprised to find your own secret codeword listed here? Don’t fret, there’s still hope for you– even if you’re among the users who used the regrettable “password” as their actual password. Here are a few simple pointers to helping you secure a much safer login.
Combine Letters, Numbers and Symbols Whenever Possible
Instead of restricting yourself exclusively to letters, put all the keys on your keyboard to work when you have the option. Using a variety of characters will make your password much more difficult to guess. If your current password is “fishingguy”, why not make it “f1sh1n6guy”? For more complexity, alternate between upper and lowercase.
Use Mnemonic Devices
A good memory trick, also known as a mnemonic device, can help you remember a difficult password. Do you remember your dorm room number from college? Tack that on the end of a simpler password. Does your password contain instances of the letter “E”? Switch each one out for the number 3, which resembles a backwards “E.” Make sure that as you build a complex password, you don’t make it too difficult for yourself to recall. Otherwise, you may end up outsmarting yourself!
Don’t Use Your Banking Pin Number or Social Security Number
Although potential thieves may have a hard time guessing these numbers, they’ll have a field day when and if they figure them out! Keep other important numbers out of the equation whenever possible, so that if one aspect of your digital life is compromised, the rest remains secure.
Check Your Password’s Safety
When you register for different websites, heed the warnings often provided by registration forms. Many sites now rank the safety of your passwords as you type them in. Some require you to use a number or special character. You can also use websites like this one to run a quick check.
Safely Track Passwords
Many of us have multiple logins across devices and platforms, so it makes sense to try to keep track of passwords. Creating a document on your device that lists all of them is a bad idea. Creating a hardcopy guide to your passwords that you store in a safe location is better, but still not ideal. An app from a trusted company like Record Vault is the best way to keep passwords accessible but secure.
What terrible passwords have you used in the past? Don’t be shy! List them in the comments below. Who knows, someone may recognize one of them as their own and become inspired to take online safety more seriously!
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