Even the savviest of computer users (myself included) are often guilty of creating bad passwords. A “bad password” may be defined as one that is easy to guess or “crack.” Every now and then a lone hacker or group of hackers will crack the passwords of a website that is currently popular. Once the passwords are deciphered, they are often posted anonymously online. Most hackers claim that they do this in order to prove that no website is truly secure. These lists of passwords are fascinating in what they reveal about user habits. For instance, even though it’s a bad password for the most obvious reasons, it’s also still the most popular: the word “password” is often number one on hacked password lists. Other popular bad passwords include:
Hopefully none of your passwords are included in the top five listed above, but if you are currently using bad passwords, there is a simple solution. Although there are many ways to create safe passwords, one very reliable way is to use a Password Generator. A password generator is exactly what it sounds like. It’s a deceptively simple program that generates a random password after a few variables are plugged into it. The more variables you throw into the mix, the stronger your password will be. The generator I use and recommend includes several selections to include:
Password Length – a password need not be ridiculously long, but remember, a longer password harder to guess.
Include Letters and/or Include numbers – the safest method of password creation will include both letters and numbers. Although most websites will now prompt users to include at least one number, get into the habit of mixing it up even without prompting.
Mixed case or Toggle case – Using upper and lower case letters goes a long way toward making your password indecipherable.
Include punctuation or symbol – When allowed, include a random symbol, which can make a password quite complicated to deduce.
No similar characters – Something else to consider is a common mistake many computer users make – repetition. Using a random series of numbers, letters, and punctuation is much less predictable than a replicated set.
You can view and use my favorite password generator by visiting the link below. Symantec offers use of the generator for free.