It feels like we need to create and use a password for just about everything. Whether unlocking our devices, accessing social media, shopping for jeans, or signing up for the children's school updates. Each time we create an account on any password-protected app, site, or system, we are prompted to create new passwords.
We are most often encouraged to ensure that the password is strong and even overly complicated with a blend of letters, cases, numbers, and symbols. But, in truth, against good cybersecurity habits, most of us do one of two things when creating a new password.
- Use the password we pretty much always use across every app, site, and system.
- Use a brand-new password never before used.
Most of us do these, but they are genuinely not good cybersecurity. So what then is the best way for you to choose a highly secure password? We've got a few tips!
What not to do when it comes to picking a password
Before we can dive into what you should do, let's explore what you should try to avoid doing when creating a new password.
- Skip using easy-to-guess dates and numbers. The birthday of your first child? Your wedding anniversary? These dates may hold special meaning to you, but they can be reasonably easy for would-be fraudsters to guess.
- The college you went to, and the team you support still, might be something that holds meaning to you. The problem is that you likely show your support for these teams all over social media. For a hacker familiar with the password patterns we all fall into, it's easy to assume that your password may have something to do with your favorite team. So skip using your college name, nicknames, and sport team names as your password.
- Your favorite movie, your pet, your car, or even your favorite food is all personal to you. So, it's understandable why you may want to use them as a part of your password. The trouble is that a nosy hacker can find much of this information out quite quickly.
- Don't pick passwords that are easy to guess, even ironically. For example, 12345, Password, Password12345, QWERTY, or even ILoveYou123 are easy to type and remember. But they pose a considerable cybersecurity threat. Hackers are likely to try these commonly used passwords before moving on to anything more challenging.
Another handy tip is to avoid making up entirely new complicated passwords each time. It may sound counterintuitive, but you are increasing the odds of you continuously forgetting your passwords. Indeed, you can reset your passwords as needed. But you may also find yourself jotting them down or maintaining a spreadsheet with your passwords. Again, this is a cybersecurity concern.
What you should do, to pick a highly secure password
Let's explore the best cybersecurity practices for selecting a highly secure password.
- Avoid using the same password time after time. We get that it's so much easier to use the same password or a variant of the same password. But in the event of a data breach, a cybercriminal can use your email address and password to hack other accounts potentially.
- Use a word or a phrase that you'll find easy to remember, but also one that doesn't truly reveal anything personal about you.
- Be sure that you use a blend of uppercase, lowercase, numbers, and special characters, as much as it can be frustrating. Don't overcomplicate it, however.
Keep in mind that even with a creative and complicated password, there are some ways that hackers can access your passwords. Phishing remains a popular choice for hackers, as it offers the potential to get access to any number of personal details.
Doing your part to ensure you pick a highly secure password can help protect you against cybercriminals' threats. At ZenKey, we love a good and secure password, but we also tout the benefits of a passwordless solution.
ZenKey offers you a passwordless solution that can give you a highly secure log-in for the apps, sites, and services that you use. Are you ready to learn more? Let's start a conversation.