Adopting Poor Password Security Is Like Laying All Your Cards On The Table

avoid these obvious password mistakes

Personally I’m not a card player, let alone a gambler.

If I was, though, I’d be sure to keep all my cards close to my chest when playing the game.

Thats just a commonsense thing to do isn’t it?

So why, then, do people gamble with their passwords?

cards-on-table

I know plenty of people, some of them readers of this site, who still make fundamental mistakes with their password security.

Some of them have passwords that are their names, even just their initials.

They’re crazy I tell you!

If you arn’t already aware of the bad password mistakes I’ve mentioned before then here they are again and with a few extra tips thrown in –

DON’T MAKE YOUR PASSWORD TOO SHORT

Has your wife or girlfriend ever told you that size matters?

She is right you know.

If you haven’t got enough length, in your password, then you are asking for trouble.

Short passwords are easy to guess, or crack, so make them as long as you can.

DON’T WRITE PASSWORDS DOWN!

You’re not stupid are you?

If you record your passwords on scraps of paper, post-it notes or even in a file on your computer then somebody, somewhere, sometime is going to have access to them.

Don’t do it!

If you really must record your passwords then use a password managing program or lock them in a safe.

Better yet, choose passwords that mean nothing to others but enough to you that you will be able to remember them.

DON’T MAKE PASSWORDS TOO COMMON

Do you own a dictionary?

You probably do.

Open it up and have a good look at the words inside.

Are any of those what you have chosen for your password?

They are? Ooops!

Hackers use their own computerised dictionaries when trying to crack passwords.

Don’t make their lives any easier by selecting anything that they’ll be able to crack in seconds.

AVOID PASSWORDS BASED UPON YOUR PERSONAL DETAILS

Wives, children, pets.

Love ‘em.

But don’t use them in your passwords.

No. Really. Don’t. You’ll regret it.

If you use any of the above, or other common data such as your date of birth, phone number, or address then someone who knows a little about you could be into your computer system in seconds.

NEVER MAKE YOUR PASSWORD YOUR REAL NAME

Love yourself?

Good. Somebody has to.

Just don’t be so vain as to use your own name as your password though.

Its not clever.

DON’T CREATE PASSWORDS THAT ARE EASY TO GUESS

Trying to think of a password?

Have a can of your favourite cola drink on your desk?

Don’t do it!

Famous brand names and descriptions of common household objects are used far too often as passwords.

Hackers know this. Make sure you do too.

NEVER MAKE PASSWORDS THAT ARE JUST LETTERS OR JUST NUMBERS

Passwords that are just letters, or just numbers, are much easier to guess than those that that use a mixture of the two.

(That doesn’t mean using your name with your age tagged on the end though!)

Throw in some symbols as well and you will be well on your way to having a password that is hard to guess.

PASSWORDS HAVE TO DIE SOMETIME TOO

Everything dies eventually and your password should not be an exception to that rule.

You may have used it for a few months, lovingly typing it out several times a day, but you shouldn’t get too attached.

If someone is trying to crack your password and they have time on their hands then they will eventually get it.

Make it as hard as possible for them by changing your passwords on a regular basis.

PASSWORD VARIETY IS THE SPICE OF LIFE

Variety is the spice of life.

Using just one password for everything you do, every site you visit, is boring.

Stupid too.

If someone cracks the one password you have then they will have access to everything you do and everywhere you go.

You really don’t want that so pick a new and unique password every time that you need an additional one.

NEVER, EVER, SHARE YOUR PASSWORD

Do you give the keys to your house or car to people you hardly know?

Didn’t think so.

Why, then, would you share your password with anyone?

Once someone has it they have access to everything you do on the computer.

So, sometimes, its good not to share.

WHY GOOD PASSWORD SECURITY MATTERS

You really do need to keep your passwords secure because, if you don’t, you may well fall prey to one of the following –

  • Online banking fraud
  • Invasion of your privacy
  • Identity theft
  • Unauthorised data leaks

None of which would be particularly good!

About Lee Munson

Lee's non-technical background allows him to write about internet security in a clear way that is understandable to both IT professionals and people just like you who need simple answers to your security questions.

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