Never before has so much information been so accessible to so many people. In many ways the “Information Age” is a wonderful time to be alive. But as is often the case, there is a dark side. The same technology that makes it really easy to search all the knowledge of the human race also makes it possible for others to get a hold of your personal information.
When it comes to using computers and the internet we are challenged to create a plethora of user names and passwords to protect our information. But how do you make up a username and password that will be easy for you to remember but impossible for anyone else to figure out? Here's some advice...
First of all, there are good passwords and bad passwords? For examples of bad passwords, here is a lists of the most popular passwords of 2012. If someone wanted to “crack” your password using computer software they would probably start with lists of common passwords. For the dedicated “password cracker” there are actually huge lists of common passwords available online, like this one. Also, when you hear on the news that the accounts of the XYZ Company or theABC Website have been hacked those passwords can end up on websites like this one where other hackers can access them. To help you understand the process better, here is a
video about how passwords are cracked with a specific example of how to crack a password on a PDF file.
So what makes for a good password? Here are some basic suggestions but in the end it will be up to you to come up with something that works for you:
- Avoid common names, dates, phone numbers or things easily associated with you.
- Avoid common words or phrases as they would be the first thing checked by password cracking software.
- Use a combination of numbers and letters. For example, substitute numbers for letters and letters for numbers in a word or phrase.
- Make it something you can remember all by yourself. Don’t write it down anywhere!
- Don’t use naturally occurring keyboard sequences (like “qwerty” for example)
- Try to make it at least 8 - 16 characters long. Obviously the longer the better.
- Plan on changing your password often. Experts suggest changing your passwords at least every 6 months.
Whether it’s about protecting the money in your bank account or just restricting access to your email, you’ll need to have good usernames and passwords to protect yourself. Choose wisely.
And if you're still having trouble coming up with a password, here's an easy to use random password generator:
This free script provided by