These days, it is not surprising to find people with many online accounts for emails, websites, blogs, and business transactions. Because there are just so many accounts, it becomes very difficult to create strong passwords to prevent them from getting hacked. In fact, remembering these passwords alone has become a trial for the memory, so much so that people end up jotting them down (which is an even greater security risk because any unscrupulous person can pick up the note). Some even make the great mistake of putting the password note inside their bags, wallets or they just stick to one password for all of their accounts.
McAfee, the world-renowned Internet security company, offers some helpful tips on making strong passwords that are difficult to hack.
- Check out the ESET Threat Blog for the list of the most common passwords. Avoid using any passwords and/or number combinations that are on this list.
- Always test the strength of your password. You can do this by coming up with a list of passwords before opening up any account and then testing them on pages like “How Strong Is Your Password” (managed by Intel) or “How Secure Is My Password”. These sites will send you data on how long it will take a hacker to crack your password. For example, using birthdates or simple names or words will only take a few seconds to hack.
- Make sure that your email or social networking accounts have different passwords from your bank, ATM, PayPal or other transaction accounts. It is vital that you keep your money accounts more secure. Do not use the same letter or numerical combinations. For example, if you are using “telnor1213” for your Gmail, do not use “evront1213” or “telnor2123”. The use of “1213” and “telnor” on both accounts will make them easy to hack.
- While it is recommended that you use a combination of letters, numbers, symbols and punctuation marks in creating passwords, they don’t have to read like gibberish so that you have difficulty in remembering them. A good option is to create easy to remember phrases and then affixing letters from the name of the site you are opening an account with. For example, instead of using “MR6gH”, you can use, “My!Twtr&Garage” or something memory retaining.
- Enable 2-step verification for email accounts. Google accounts and, now, Yahoo, have added a 2-step verification for extra security. Aside from creating a username and password, you need to type in a special code (which you can create yourself or assigned by the service provider) which will be sent as a text or voice message on your cellphone.
- Use a password manager. Password managers are the best tools for people who have difficulty in remembering passwords. Not only will these services help you in creating very strong, unhackable passwords, you can create a master password for all your sites and then open your accounts from the manager. Good examples of Password Managers include Last Pass, 1Password, and RoboForm.
Visit McAfee and other online security websites for more helpful tips on creating, strong, hack-proof passwords.