As a child, I remember hearing the story of the 3 little pigs and the big, bad wolf. It’s very likely you’ve heard it too! 3 pigs build different houses – one of straw, one of sticks, one of bricks, and one by one the wolf tries to huff and puff and blow the house down.
I’d like to share with you a cyber retelling of this beloved fairytale, about having a strong password.
Once upon a time there were 3 little pigs. They each had a brand new computer that they used to connect with family, search the web, and complete work. The computers were very similar in model, size, and shape, but they had one major difference: their passwords!
The first little pig liked to keep things simple. “There is no way I’ll remember a password with all these numbers and special characters! I have things to do, I can’t waste time!” He decided to put the word ‘password’ as the way to unlock his computer, and then he rushed out the door.
At the same time, the second little pig was a bit more cautious, “I should probably add a number or two in my password, and maybe one capitalized letter. That should be safe enough!” He wrote his password, ‘123Password’ onto a sticky note, placed it on his desk, and went to mow his backyard.
Meanwhile, the third little pig sat to think. “I want my password to really protect my computer, but also mean something to me so I’ll remember it.” He brainstormed the perfect phrase to turn into a password, and then added it to his Password Manager. After making sure his computer was shut down completely, he went to his room to take a nice, long nap.
Little did the three little pigs know, the big, bad wolf was in the neighborhood, looking for computers to hack so he could steal the data. He had been scouting the area for a bit, so he knew about the three little pigs. They had each had a new computer delivered to them very recently, and they would be busy at around this time. He came to the first little house.
“Little pig, are you home?” he knocked on the door. There was no response, and in fact, the door was left unlocked, so he crept in and there was the computer, sitting on the living room table.
“A-ha!” The wolf grinned cunningly, and tried ‘password’, the most popular password, first, before taking out his hacking tools. It worked! He decided to just take the whole computer with him, since it was easy to unlock and free for the taking. He placed it in his bag and went to the second house.
This house was definitely locked, but nothing a little kicking and shoving the door couldn’t solve. The noise didn’t disturb the second pig, as he had headphones on, listening to music as he was mowing the lawn. When he crept in, it took a bit of searching to find his home office, but once he got in he tried the same word, ‘password’. It didn’t work. “Tsk,” the wolf shook his head, this wouldn’t be easy. Then he spotted the sticky note with the password written on it. Since the second pig was nearly done with the lawn, he just plugged in a USB drive to download all the data, and went on his way.
Now it was time to go to the third little pig’s house. It was heavily bolted. “Drat!” the wolf whispered to himself. He looked around, and took out his lock-picking tools, and it took him 30 minutes to finally open the lock. He snuck in and located the home office upstairs, and saw the computer. He tried all the most popular passwords, and they didn’t work. He searched all around for a note or scrap of paper with the password written on it. Nope. Then he plugged in a USB to try to jailbreak the computer. Nothing. The wolf heard the third pig waking up from his nap and without a further thought, jumped out the window and ran away.
Usually the story would stop there, but put yourself in the pigs’ shoes once they got back to their computers. The first little pig doesn’t have a computer anymore. He is devastated – all his data was on there! And he just spent all this money for nothing. The second little pig freaks out – he now has to replace his door, and then he notices that there are several charges from his credit and debit cards on many websites. Someone has officially stolen his identity, and they have all his info.
The third little pig wakes up refreshed from his nap. He realizes someone broke in, so he replaces the lock, and then he checks his computer. An alert notifies him there were several failed attempts to log on, and he feels relieved. He installs an anti-malware software and goes along with his day.
Now, we may not have to worry about a wolf breaking in and taking our computer or confidential data, but we never know when someone could even remotely hack into our devices. That is why having a strong password is so important. And think about it, wouldn’t we want to have the third little pig’s experience?
Passwords are more essential than you realize, and being like the third little pig in the tale can save you a lot of pain, trouble, and heartache.
The moral of the story is the same – the big bad wolf is out there and it will inevitably come huffing and puffing, and trying to pick the lock, just like the Cybermonsters are real and you cannot singlehandedly stop them from trying to attack you.
What you can do is something very simple like use the power of a strong password to work for you, so the Cybermonsters don’t succeed and even give up on getting their hands on your precious and sensitive data.
Do you use a strong password? Tell us why in the comments below.