With a lot of security breaches happening in every corner of the interwebs (the latest being on Apple's highly acclaimed iCloud), how do we really protect ourselves from these threats?
There are a lot of technologies out there (e.g. two-way authentication, tokens) that increase a user's online security exponentially. Technologies and methods that are made for the sole purpose of securing your online experience have been present for several years, but are still not being fully utilized by majority of web users. Sure it takes a bit of time to set this up, but that little bit of time will save you years of potential headaches and financial losses ranging from:
- identity and/or corporate data theft
- damage to your credit history
- private information leaks, etc.
Amidst all these more complex methods, it's surprising to know that what majority of users tend to forgo is also the simplest and effective, yet the most neglected method to protect themselves – creating secure passwords.
So what is the recipe for a secure password? There are a lot of pointers online, but here's a list of the basic dos and dont's when creating your password.
1. Create a password at least 8 characters long.
2. Password must contain at least 1 uppercase, 1 lowercase, 1 number, and 1 special character.
3. Select a password that is not in any way associated with yourself (birthdays, children's name, anniversary, pet's name, etc.)
4. Choose a password that is hard enough for anyone to guess easily, but not too hard for you to actually remember.
5. Change your passwords every couple of months.
1. Do not use common passwords (e.g. password, qwerty, qwerty1234, password123,etc.)
2. Do not use dictionary words. Password generators go with dictionary words first to brute-force a password.
3. Do not write it down on a post-it and stick it on your desk or computer – this just beats the purpose of the password.
There are definitely more complex ways to build secure passwords. A simple Google search will spawn hundreds of results on the “Best practices to create a secure password”, but really the simplest first form of defense is to make sure that every password you make is a secured one.