Let’s see if this sounds familiar….”you need at least one lower case character, one upper case, a number, a special character, etc…”.
Almost all online sites that we visit; Facebook, Twitter, email accounts and online banking all require passwords and each site has its own level of requirement of password complexity.
But who can remember all these passwords?
With so many passwords and PINs to remember these days, it’s easy to just make them all the same. Hold that thought – no two passwords should ever be the same and doing so will make you an Identity Thief’s best friend.
Why should I change my passwords?
Here’s the problem, when a site is hacked and unfortunately usernames and passwords are stolen, the bad guys will try to use those same usernames and passwords across all online sites.
For example, recently the CEO of Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg had this happen to his Twitter account, his credentials were stolen as part of the LinkedIn breach and they were able to access his Twitter account because he had reused the same passwords for both Twitter and LinkedIn. Now, not all of us are as high profile as Mark Zuckerberg, but the same situation can happen to anyone.
Password reuse is a growing problem that is not going to go away unless security minded folks (like you) take action. If you Google “Password Reuse Attack” and you can read the countless stories of this issue. Large companies are now seeing that some “attacks” on their sites have been related to password reuse stemming from other sites breaches.
How do I know if my password is strong?
First thing is to start evaluating what you’re using in the World Wide Web, are you reusing any passwords on your social media or financial institution accounts? If so, it’s time to change them.
How can I create strong passwords that is easy to remember?
It may seem daunting to have to come up with a different password for every site….but let’s break it down and simplify. They don’t have to be completely different, just not exactly the same.
Let’s start with a good base password: Come up with a phrase or saying that can be easily remembered.
- For example:I love my spouse and kids.
- Now, take the first letter of each word:ilmsak
- Next change up the upper case and lower case to your liking, for our example, we’ll make every other letter uppercase…. IlMsAk
- Next, add a number or two that is easily remembered, let’s say the last 2 digits of the year you graduated high school…. IlMsAk92
- You have to have a special character (best to use is any above the numbers on the keyboards)….. IlMsAk92!
- Now we have a good base password:IlMsAk92!….next we customize it to each site:
- For example:
- Facebook – IlMsAk92!Fb
- Twitter – IlMsAk92!Tw
- Kohls – IlMsAk92!Ko
It’s pretty simple to come up with a complex password, that’s easy to remember and customized to each site. The most important part is that you take action to help protect yourself from being a victim.
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