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The Perfect Password, or Close To It.
The perfect password is something that does not exist. We can however, still strive to make our passwords better in order to protect ourselves and our valuable digital information. While cyber security consists of many different layers of protection, creating good and memorable passwords are still one of, if not the most, important factor for keeping hackers from accessing your information.
Surprisingly a lot of people still use very common and easy to guess passwords according to surveys. It is astonishing that 123456 is still the most used password in the year 2022. No wonder so many people are getting their accounts hacked daily. Luckily for you, the purpose of this article is to teach anyone and everyone how to make a good password they can remember, and a few facts to go along with why.
What Makes a Good Password?
I am sure by now most of you have heard having a complex, long password, is an important rule of thumb. If you haven’t, you are hearing it now. The question is why are these factors important? Well, hackers like to use popular password cracking tools like Hashcat or John the Ripper which you can see by clicking the links are quite accessible and open source. These tools use computing power to go through different techniques of password cracking and are much faster than any human could be at it. Here are some of the techniques a hacker or password cracker might use.
- Dictionary Attack- This is probably the most self-explanatory technique as a dictionary of common passwords or words is applied to the password field to attempt to guess the correct password. Complexity helps preventing this greatly because a non existent sequence of characters will not be present in the dictionary and will be hard to guess.
- Brute Force Attack – This type of attack is actually always going to work at cracking a password. The drawback? It’s time, a brute force attack will cycle through every possible character in each part of your password until it guess correctly, however the longer the password, the more time it takes. So much time in fact it can be years or lifetimes to crack and thus preventing any human or even machine from trying that long to crack it.
- Hybrid attack – A hybrid attack mixes the two techniques. It starts by checking to see if a password can be cracked using a dictionary attack, then moves on to a brute-force attack if unsuccessful.
As you can see the length and complexity in a password are both equally important when trying to decide what combination to use in your passwords. For testing on how good of a password you have, or just see how length and complexity might affect the time to crack, check out this cool online tool here where it calculates mathematically how long it would take.
Rules to Follow
Now that we know how to make a good password there are a few other pointers to try and follow in order to really secure yourself in this cyber dependent world. First, how to make a memorable good password yourself. Try to think of a sentence that you won’t forget. Make it two or three words or longer if you prefer and bunch them together without spaces. An example would be, ilovepeachpie. Now we have length and it is easy to remember. For the complexity we are going to take certain letters and replace them with numbers or add capital letters and symbols. For instance, 1l0vep3chpie!. This way we have complexity, length, and it is memorable. If you take that technique and apply it to your own combinations you will have a good rule of thumb for your password creation.
Another thing to keep in mind is to try and not use the same password for every single account you have. If by some chance your information does leak or a hacker figures out your password they will then look to find other accounts you have to try it on. I recommend at least having a few different ones that you can use on some accounts each so you don’t have twenty passwords to remember but your also not entirely in trouble if something does get hacked. Just go to the accounts with that password as soon as you notice something and change them.
Finally, if you really do want the perfect password for every account that you have you can consider using a password manager like LastPass or another trusted third party password manager. Keep in mind those accounts do still need a master password which you would want to focus on making very strong or else all of your accounts can be accessed if that password is cracked. Password managers allow for long random strings of characters that you do not need to remember for maximum security.
Other Tips to Know
So now that you have the idea of best practices when creating a multitude of passwords there are just a few other things to pay attention to. While a lot of work organizations require password changes every so often, it really is not forced very often for personal accounts. Every six months or even yearly you should switch out your collection of passwords for new ones. With all the data breaches that happen recently it can help protect you from leaked passwords from large organizations. According to statistics only thirty percent of users do update their password even yearly and is something we can all work on. There are a lot of other interesting statistics you can find on passwords here. They all just go to show how much better we can all do to protect our digital information.
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