5 Tips to Make a Stronger Password
Attacking a computer through hacking isn’t just about technical know-how, there’s also an element of psychology. The easiest way into a computer or secure data, like your e-mail, is by simply entering the correct password. Smart hackers can use clues (besides the post-it note on your desk with the password written down) like your name, age, job, and family relations to guess obvious passwords and gain access to your secure data. Use these 5 tips to make a stronger password.
1.The Password is at Least 8 Characters long
Our first tip to make a stronger password is to make it longer. Making your password at least 8 characters long improves its strength in two ways. First for the hacker who uses social clues, having a longer password simply makes it harder to guess at. If your hacker is using pure technological “brute force” methods, where a computer simply goes through all the potential passwords until it gets it right, each extra character adds exponentially more possible passwords for it to sort through. Assuming your only using lowercase letters a one letter password has 26 combinations, where as a 2 letter password has 676 potential combinations. A 8 letter password has 208 billion potential combinations, 9 has five trillion potential passwords. Each extra character in your password adds exponential protection.
2. Contains Upper/lowercase Letters, Numbers, and Symbols
Our second tip to make a stronger password is to use upper and lowercase letters, numbers, and symbols in your password. Like having a longer password, mixing in these different types of characters in meaningful ways that you can remember, greatly enhances your password strength. Lowercase letters alone provide 26 potential solutions per character, but adding uppercase letters provide another 26 potential solutions making the total possible solution for a character 52. Numbers add 10 potential characters to make it harder to crack, and symbols add 15(including a space). The total becomes 77 potential answers per each character of your password. Using these 77 options increases the possible combinations of an 8 character password to 1 quadrillion possible combinations. This will take a computer doing 4 billion calculations a second 3 full days to crack the password. Adding a single keystroke more to make the password 9 characters changes the potential combinations to 95 quadrillion and means that computer trying to break your password will take 275 days.
3. Doesn’t Contain Names Related to You
Our third tip to make a stronger password is to make sure it doesn’t contain any names related to you. Don’t use your first or last name in the password. Don’t use your company name in your password. Don’t use your user name in the password. These are all relatively easy to guess for the hacker that uses social clues to find potential passwords.
4. No Complete Words
Our fourth tip to make a stronger password is to not use complete words in your password. Using complete words make passwords easier to get. For example “password” is an easy guess and terrible password for lots of reasons. But using number, letter, and symbol substation can make it stronger, like “P@55 w0Rd”, however we still don’t recommend using it. Another safe password option is to use acronyms for easy to remember phrases, like “I love my son who was born on july 5 2003” could be “IlmSwboJ52003!”.
5. Different from Your Last Password
Our fifth and final tip to make a stronger password is, if your previous password has passed out of date, or been compromised make your new password significantly different from your last. If you make simple variations of your old password it can be easy to guess, and a hacker can get back into your secure data. So when it comes time to make a new password, make sure it’s actually new and follows the four previous rules.
Need more I.T. Security Advice? Working Nets Can Help
At Working Nets, we know that handling the cybersecurity for a business while actually keeping that business running can seem impossible, especially in the daunting face of cyber-attacks against much larger businesses. Outsourcing your IT can give you peace of mind and allow you to take care of the things that are important for your company. Working Nets is a Maryland based IT Service and Security company that services small businesses nationwide. We’re always on top of emerging cybersecurity trends and threats so you don’t have to be.
To talk to someone about managed IT for your business, give us a call at (443) 992-7394. We’d be happy to assist you with your professional business networking needs.