Passwords can be such a time-consuming annoyance. Wouldn’t you agree? It seems like no matter where we go or what we do, we’re being asked for a password or PIN. Remembering all of our passwords and PINs is a pain, and when we need to come up with a new password, it’s difficult to think of a secure one that we can remember.
While remembering and hassling with passwords can be challenging, it’s important to keep in mind why it is that we must have strong passwords. Your password is the first line of defense against an intrusion. They protect your banking info, family information, address, phone number…etc. None of this is information that you’d want getting into the wrong hands.
Passwords are the cheapest and easiest way for us to protect ourselves. They are a simple way of protecting an account or system. Passwords are generally used with some other type of identification like a username or email address, and sometimes even an account number. As the username or email address establishes our identity, the password actually authenticates who the user claims he or she is. It’s basically like the website is asking us to prove that we are who we say we are.
Although passwords provide us with a secure way to log into various accounts, the fact remains that they are fairly easily cracked. This process is much easier than one might think. A password can be cracked in several different ways. There are many password cracking tools available to less than honest people out there. Unfortunately, most of these tools are so basic that even an average user can use them effectively.
Now that we’ve established the importance of strong passwords, let’s look into the best and most simple ways to generate effective passwords. The proper password will have to contain a high degree of complexity. Three different factors to keep in mind while creating a strong password are:
- Depth – Depth means choosing a suitable password with some sort of meaning to you which is not easily guessed by others.
- Width - Width is a way to describe the various characters you use in a password. These are not letters of the alphabet, but instead are symbols such as ~, *, and #. Numbers are also part of the ‘width’ of a password.
- Length - When talking about the length of a password, it’s self-explanatory. The longer the password, the more difficult it will be to crack it. A general rule of thumb for the length of passwords is that they should be from six to nine characters in length. Anything shorter than six characters is simply not enough length to ensure that you’ve got a safe password.
Developing a safe password is half the battle. But also remember that changing your password often is highly recommended. How often you change your password is really up to you, but it is said that with websites like financial institutions and other sites which contain highly personal information, you should change the password no less often than every two months. If you delay it much longer than that, you very well may be risking the security of your online information.
Secure passwords are only one aspect of Internet security. Having a strong firewall, having excellent physical security, and also plugging any network holes are also good ways to ensure that you’re taking all of the necessary steps in order to protect your personal information. No matter what the case may be, it is always important to take all of the proper precautions in order to safeguard yourself.
Have you ever had your passwords breached? Share your experience in the comments and help out your fellow online entrepreneurs!