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The Dos and Don’ts for creating online passwords

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passwordprotectionHaving a strong password is our only defence against hackers and cyber criminals yet many people are putting themselves at risk with simple entries.

The SplashData 2013 list of worst passwords has been released with “123456” taking the top spot closely followed by “password” and “12345678”.

There have been a number of well-publicised security breaches including Adobe and Find My iPhone that are directly related to poor passwords or people using the same password across all their accounts.

Passwords like “adobe123” or “photoshop” also illustrate the risks of basing your password on the name of the site or the application you’re using.

Here are the worst passwords of 2013:

1. 123456

2. Password

3. 12345678

4. Qwerty

5. abc123

6. 123456789

7. 111111

8. 1234567

9. iloveyou

10. adobe123

With this in mind Tech Guide has put together some DO’s and DON’Ts on creating strong passwords.

DOs

1. Have a different password for all accounts. If you have the same password across all of your accounts then if one is cracked – they will all be cracked.

2. Include letters, numbers, symbols and capital and lower case letters. Having this variety in your passwords makes them infinitely harder to guess.

3. Use a password with 8 characters or more. The more characters you use the better.

4. To create a unique password you’ll remember, choose a line from a song or movie as your password – then use first letter of each word. For example – DYKTWTSJ – Do You Know The Way To San Jose

5. Use a password manager to remember all of your passwords. There are plenty of these available both on mobile devices and on your computer – just don’t forget the password for the password manager.

DONTs

1. Don’t use your name or obvious words. That will be the first thing a hacker will try if they want to crack your account.

2. Don’t repeat the same password for several accounts. People complain that it’s hard to remember different passwords for different accounts so they use the same one across the board. A hacker won’t be complaining that you’ve used the same password when they access ALL of your accounts.

3. Don’t use a sequence of numbers or letter like 12345 or abcdef. This is a combination of stupidity and laziness – perhaps both – and just paints a huge target on your back.

4. Don’t write your password down. There are many people who keep diaries with a list of their passwords on the inside cover. If that diary is lost then you’ve served your online world up on a platter to anyone who finds it.

5. Don’t share your password. This might sound simple but you’ll be surprised how open some people are with their passwords and share it freely with friends by either telling them or writing it down.

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