World Password Day was May 7th. I’m a day late but I am still working to encourage black people to think long and hard about their passwords. Too many of us don’t focus on cyber security enough and it costs money and more.
What is the value of a strong password?
A strong password is your first, and sometimes your only, line of defense against a hacker robbing you blind. Using weak passwords or the same password across multiple websites is asking for trouble. A good hacker will have software that uses what is known as a brute force attack to break your password. If you have an easy to guess password the hacker can be in your account in a few seconds.
A strong password is both very useful and a pain in the ass. Most people fail miserably at creating passwords and have bad habit of using easily guessed passwords. Using your pets name, your birthday, your favorite sports team or any information you can find on your social media page is a bad idea. Someone will guess it even if they don’t have a password cracking software.
Another interesting fact is that some people use the worst possible password. Something like “PASSWORD12345” or some other equally lousy password. Why don’t you try to find your password in Forbes World’s Worst 100 Passwords.
What does a good password look like?
A good password is a pain in the ass. It looks like this %45Rtg#31Op&rF*v#. Its difficult to remember and even harder to break. That password has 17 characters made up of numbers, letters and symbols. Ideally you should have at 15-20 characters and it should make no sense. This number of characters makes breaking your password all but impossible. Why? 15-20 characters multiplied by the number combinations you can create using your keyboard adds up to billions of possibilities. That means unless the hacker has government sized super computer you’re safe.
How do you create a strong password?
There are two ways to do this. First let your browser do it for you. Apple Safari and other browsers can create massive complicated passwords and even save them for you. But you can use these rules to learn to create your own password.
Two essential password rules
1. Password Length: Passwords should be at least 15-20 characters in length. The more characters in the passwords is better.
2. Password Complexity: Your password should contain at least three character from each of the following groups. At least 8 characters in your passwords should be each one of the following.
- Lower case alphabets
- Upper case alphabets
- Special Characters
Complexity is key in password creation. If you have as little as 8 characters in your password and it has a word or repetition in it it can be guessed.
Use a password manager
Passwords can be a pain in the ass. It can be hard to remember 15-20 characters that are a mix of everything on your key board. So use a password manager. They keep your passwords straight and can be automatically loaded when you visit a website. And you can find a free one.
Best free password managers
- Norton Password Manager
- Sticky Password
- Zoho Vault
- Enpass Password Manager
Passwords are your first step to security online. But if you think your password alone will keep you safe they you give up too easily. Yes, a good password is key to good security but you need to take the next step. Implement two factor authentication. The three factors to security access are;
- Something you know. That would be your password.
- Something you are. That would be your fingerprint or some other bio-metric measurement.
- Something you have. That would be a key or device or in this case a code. Two-factor authentication is something only you would know. The best security includes two of the three.
Two-factor authentication is a code that is sent to you by the website when you enter your password. The website will ask for the code. You can usually program the code to be sent to your smart phone as a message or to your email. Once you receive the code you enter it into your website and you are allowed access.
Security is key if you plan to be online for anything. ANYTHING! Whether you’re shopping, playing around on Facebook or Instagram, checking your bank or credit card balances and paying bills all should be a security concern for you. Don’t fool around. Make damn sure you are using a powerful password.
Now you know.
See also : You Need a Password Manager…Don’t You?