Day 30: Always prefer complicated passwords to simple ones.

Welcome to Cybersecurity in 31 Days. I’m Malan Faya, your host. Today is Day 30. To view previous posts, click here.

Simple passwords are guessed in minutes by a password-cracker program. Always use complicated passwords.

A password-cracker program can be used to guess your password by trying many thousands of combinations of numbers, letters, and special characters per second. To guard against these programs, use strong passwords that contain upper and lowercase letters, numbers, and special characters like “!”, “$”, “&” and “%”. As a password gets longer, it gets exponentially harder for a hacker or a password guessing program to crack. Passwords should be at least eight characters long.

Also, passwords that contain personal information such as your birthday, children’s names, anniversary, lover’s name, hometown, or favorite sports team could all be easily guessed or gleaned from social media accounts or other sources. Instead, use a completely random password and change it often. In addition to passwords such as your birthday, lover’s name etc, your mother’s maiden name can also be used to steal your identity. A mother’s maiden name has long been used as a verification question for financial accounts, and social media has made it so that maiden names are often displayed alongside married names.

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