Our most sensitive information resides in the cyberworld; on our computer, phone, and on the Internet. We may think that the information stored in systems, accounts, or online services is kept safe. After all, all we need to do is use our password and nobody else can access it, right?
The truth is, nothing is fully protected, not even when we use passwords!
Passwords can be easily guessed by Cybermonsters if they are too simple. A 7-character password consisting of lowercase letters could only take 0.29 milliseconds to crack.
Many hacking-related breaches are caused because of weak and reused passwords. Did you know, more than 23 million people use the password 123456 and millions more prefer just to use the word “password”?
There are many ways Cybermonsters can intercept and get access to your passwords, and the simplest way to protect your precious information from being stolen is by creating stronger passwords.
It is easy to get overwhelmed – passwords are asked for in many places and often several times during the day. This is a great opportunity to use it as a powerful tool!
So, what are some things you can do to protect your passwords?
Here are 5 secrets to protect your passwords:
Avoid Popular Options
Avoid simple numbers, lowercase words, or sports/pop culture references in your passwords. Choosing options like, “qwerty,” “abc123,” and even, “!@#$%^&*,” could be putting your important accounts at risk, since these are popular options.
Avoid Personal Information
Avoid choosing passwords with personal information! Adding your pet’s name, mother’s maiden name, date of birth, spouse’s or your own name, could lead to a security breach. These could easily be guessed, because some, if not all, of that information can be found on public records or on your social media accounts.
Don’t use the same password for all your social media and personal accounts! Doing this is cutting the work down for Cybermonsters, allowing them to crack one password, and then they will have full access to your cyberworld. Don’t give them that power.
Connect your password with phrases that relate to your Declarations, Intentions, and Affirmations. This can help you remember them better, but will also give you the opportunity to mix it up with numbers, special characters, and capitalizations that will make it difficult for Cybermonsters to figure out.
Here is an example of how I use passwords to reinforce these messages as an integral part of my life – of course, this is not a real password, since it is not a good idea to write passwords down or show them to other people:
Every day is my best day
Completed Password: Ed@Y1$mB3$tD
Mix upper and lower case
Use just the initials of the word = E (every)
Include entire word “day” and replacing the a for @ = d@Y (day)
Include entire word and replacing the i for 1 and the s for an $ = 1$ (is)
Use initials of the word = m (my)
Include entire word replacing the e for 3 and s by $ (Best)
Use just the initials of the word = D (day)
Use a Password Manager
If you’re wondering how to remember your passwords, not to worry, that’s what this last tip is all about. A Password Manager can be a very useful tool to create, manage, and monitor your passwords.
When you create a master password, every time you need to access a particular password in the tool or log into any of your apps or systems, you only need to remember one password to open the Password Manager. When selecting a Password Manager, choose the one that offers multiple features that can help you assess when your passwords need to be changed and updated. If you don’t know where to start, we will talk about what to look for when picking a Password Manager in a future blog post!
The key is putting our passwords to work for us, not against us! By creating a phrase that has meaning to you, using it as an Intention, Declaration, or Affirmation, and reassessing your passwords regularly with a Password Manager, you can protect what matters most to you from hackers, scammers, and Cybermonsters – and take charge of your cyberworld!
What do YOU do to protect your passwords?