By choosing to use a long, strong, unique password for an online account, you are making it more difficult for the password to be hacked, by a computer program or person.
That is because a weak password can expose you to a data breach. If this happens it gives hackers full access to the information stored in the account. Often our online accounts contain our personal information, such as an address, contact number, credit card details, etc. so it could expose you to identity theft and fraud.
What is a strong password?
A strong password is one that is long, complex and unique. When choosing to create a strong password, consider creating it with these key aspects:
- Minimum 12 characters.
- Avoid using personal information that can be found online.
- Use uncommon words, or better random characters.
- Mix it up with numeric digits, upper/lower case letters and special characters $, #
- To help with memorising your password, you can pick 4 random words which do not relate to each other, to add together.
When I create a new online account, do I need a password?
It’s tempting to use the same password everywhere because remembering lots of long and complex passwords is nearly impossible.
However, if a hacker discovers the password you use on a specific account, not only that account becomes compromised, but the hacker could also use this password to see if they can hack into any other common online accounts e.g.: Social Media Accounts, Email Accounts and Bank Accounts.
So, yes, to keep your personal information safe, we recommend you use a different password for each online account you have.
What password should I create though?
Ever wondered how long it would take to hack your passwords? Check out Random ize to learn how secure your existing passwords are.
You can also check if one of your accounts has been compromised (and therefore your password is known by hackers) in sites like this one, have I been pwned?
To provide you with some real examples, we tested how long it would take to hack each of the below passwords:
- 123456 Less than 1 second
- Picture1 16 minutes, 33 Seconds
- 24MountainDollarsPictureStreet$ 44 Years!
CertNZ have great resources to help you and your staff with learning to create a long, strong, unique password, from an animated video to a ‘how to create a strong password’ poster you can print off for staff.
It can be daunting to think you have to remember multiple complicated passwords. To assist with this, you could utilise a password manager. Implementing a password manager takes the worry out of ensuring you remember all the passwords for each of your online accounts. So, if you would like to talk further about password safety, using a password manager or cyber security, give us a call today.