Do you know the most common password? It’s easy to break. (The answer is at the bottom).
The last thing you want is for someone to hack into your bank or Bitcoin account. Easy passwords lend the way to hackers, scammers, and phishers. Many people use their birthdate or anniversary for their password. These are all easy targets, and much worse if you have the same password for every device and every program or application. You may have heard it before, but it’s not a good idea to have the same password for everything.
Many people never change their password after getting their device from the store, but it’s a good idea to change it at least yearly, if not monthly to keep your data safe. Which one do you think is the most common password?
Make a Secure, Unbreakable Password
How can you make a secure password? Many sites have rules.
- It must have at least eight characters
- It must have at least one number
- It must have at least one capital letter
- It must have at least one symbol
Some people will use their name and birthdate. Not a great idea – especially if it’s for a financial account. That can be hacked in a hurry. Never use your social security number or phone number. Easily cracked as well. How about using a nickname? That would be more secure. Substituting symbols or numbers for letters would make it even more unbreakable.
Use a Phrase
Another way to make an unbreakable password is to choose a phrase – the longer the better. One person uniquely chose the first letter of every word in a favorite scripture verse. Totally unbreakable! Change it regularly by adding the date you changed it (such as 012020).
Another example is to use a phrase you can remember easily such as I love Beethoven’s 5th Symphony! becomes Ilb5th$! “I love my dog Sparky” becomes even more secure by adding numbers and symbols: “I!0v3myd0g$p4rk^” Choose a phrase that corresponds with the application or program used.
Use Symbols and Numbers in Place of Letters
By using numbers for letter-lookalikes (i.e., 1 for the letter L, 4 for the letter A, 3 for the letter E), you are easily able to recognize the word or phrase. Yet it is secure. Another way is to use the cap locks feature for numbers. You remember the number (like the last four digits of your phone number) but you type it with cap locks. If you use the name of your pet or a person, spell it backward!
Memorable Passwords Hard to Crack
If you have many emails or websites that you need to remember passwords for, then I have some simple suggestions on how to remember them. If you need a password for NetFlix, use N3tf!1x!@# (using 123 with cap locks). Facebook can become F4c3b00k+myinitials!! PayPal becomes P4yP41+mybankname, and so on. Use symbols for letters such as a dollar sign for S, an exclamation point for L or I, or the @ sign or caret ^ for the letter A.
How to Remember? A Password Manager
The trick is remembering all your passwords and security questions. My preference is an Excel spreadsheet to help me remember my hundred or so passwords. I keep that secured on a flash drive and on my computer, both with password protection. OneDrive and Google are other options that are virtual online storage space for files and folders. It is still wise to password protect your password file if stored on an online storage system.
There are also free password managers. If you want it to be more secure, and something you can access anywhere on the web, Enpass, LastPass, and KeePass are free programs that will keep all your passwords safe and encrypted. You only need to remember ONE password to get into them. Keep in mind that others have free trials or paid services when searching for a password manager.
Change Each Device
New tablet or phone? Keep in mind you must reset passwords for each one. If you change passwords on your local desktop computer, it doesn’t transfer to your phone or tablet. If for some reason, you find yourself suddenly locked out of your email on your phone, it may be the password issue.
Note: If you change your password on your computer, it doesn’t affect your laptop, tablet, or phone. You must change it on each device.
If you have a smart television that picks up your internet programs, you’ll also have to change passwords there each time you change them.
The Most Common Password
All the passwords listed above are in the top category of common passwords. The most common password is “password.”