We have heard it repeatedly, we need to have a different password for every account…it needs to be complex…and we need to change it all the time…ugh! We ask ourselves, how can we be expected to remember so many complex passwords and have the discipline to keep them in a state of change? The real question we should be asking ourselves is, how can we not do this?
Look, there are more hackers than ever, and their tools are becoming more sophisticated. In fact, they are becoming their own industry. They have talent recruiters, mentors, consultants, apps, ecommerce, and their own online communities. They are becoming big business. They are a big threat to all of us, and their numbers are growing. But, let’s put things into perspective.
Since the beginning of time, there have been criminals, and since the beginning of time, there have been ways to deter them. For instance, on your street, if your house has its doors locked with your front and back porch lights on, and your neighbor does not, which house do you think a burglar will choose? Now take that same street and more neighbors have their lights on, but you also now have a security system installed. Of all the choices, out there, you would be the most difficult to access. Your neighbor with the unlocked doors and no exterior lighting will be the easy target. Which house do you think the burglar would choose? Exactly! Your online account is the same way.
A strong password online is the equivalent to having your house doors locked, your lights on, and your security system enabled. However, a strong password is much easier and cheaper to implement. So, why would you not do this? That is the question many of us in the IT industry ask, yet the criminal world is ecstatic with the lack of desire of people to secure their accounts online like they do their homes and cars.
“Enough rambling” I am sure you are saying! “I get it” you say! But the real question is, “How do I create strong passwords and make it easy?” I have one word for you: “Passphrase.” Yep, all I did was substitute “word” with “phrase”. Easy, huh? I know, I know, get on with it.
So, the days of having a password like doglover are behind us. It’s too easy for a hacker to figure out, with all the tools they have available to them now. Tools created by amazing criminal minds and then sold on the criminal app store to anyone with a stolen credit card. No kidding though, simple passwords can be cracked in no time these days. A passphrase, though, well that is much harder. Imagine replacing doglover with “I love my dog Rex.” Simple to remember, right?!? Of course, but it is also complex. This passphrase has capital letters, spaces, and punctuation. The sophistication of the password jumped exponentially while staying easy to remember for you. And if you really want to secure your account, substitute a couple of characters with something else. Like an “O” with a zero. Or an “A” with an @ symbol or an “E” with a 3. Now imagine a password like “I L0ve my d0g R3x.” The amount of time it would take to crack this password will cause the criminal to just move onto the next “house”. See what I did there?
So, take the time and create a few passphrases that you will use across your online presence. And every 3-6 months, take the time to change it up. Super simple. Super easy. Super effective.