It’s tempting to get lazy about online passwords: your average web denizen frequents at least a handful of websites that require a password, and it’s understandable to want to simplify things by using a similar one each time you’re required to come up with one.
As you probably already know, that isn’t a very good idea. Having the same password for Facebook, Gmail, and, let’s say, your online banking account is an invitation to having all three hacked at the same time. Some nefarious person figures out the password for one of them, and you could imagine the rest of it.
So before Google invalidates the very idea of passwords altogether, we here at FlashRouters want to offer some solutions to that problem and a few other password-related problems, and maybe throw in a few tips on how to ensure that your passwords are as impenetrable as possible.
Use Unique Passwords
The solution to the problem we mentioned in the first segment is obvious, even if you don’t want to hear it: use unique passwords for each site that requires one. Even if it makes the process of remembering each one a little more laborious, the benefits far outweigh the hardships.
And while we’re at it, don’t write down all of your different passwords on a piece of paper or post-it note and leave it on your desk, particularly if you work in an office; someone is likely to notice. There’s always the option of typing out all of your passwords in a document and storing them on your computer, but try not to label it something like “mypasswords”, or anything else that clearly explains what the document is.
All of this and more is laid out in a post on Gmail’s official blog (did you know they had one of those? I didn’t) called “Choosing a Smart Password“. Included are tips about avoiding common passwords (like “password”, as this link clearly explains, or you can enjoy it in the infographic below) and avoiding creating passwords out of personal data like your birthday.
But if it were just that simple, we’d link to that article and call it a day. As it happens, we have more tips.
Use Bad Grammar
We posted a link to this page the other day, but it’s worth reposting this recent article from Mashable.com which details just how effective a password that utilizes bad grammar can be in stymieing would-be hackers. Apparently, researchers at Carnegie Mellon University have developed an algorithm that can figure out passwords that are grammatically sound. So if you make your password a full sentence like, “herewego” or “dontletmedown”, it is now officially vulnerable.
The solution is simple: if you’re going to make a password that’s a sentence or phrase, make it nonsensical, something like “Hotdogtuesdaycanada” or “Estrangedturtlefreedom”. It’s effective, and actually kind of fun, as we just discovered.
You Can Even Use A Password Generator
If, for whatever reason, you’ve read all of the tips above and still don’t trust yourself to create a password that’s difficult to crack, we have good news for you; you can just use a password generator! Mashable compiled a brief list of 5 Password Generators for Maximum Online Security, and they boast features like mixed case letters, as well as number and punctuation mixtures.
Sure, you can probably achieve the same effect by mashing your hands into your keyboard and copying the resultant hodgepodge, but this sounds like a cleaner, more trustworthy process.