If your password is short, only uses words, then you are an easy target.
My clients often ask, ‘why would they want to hack my website, social network or email account?’, well here are the reasons.
‘They’, in this article refers to the hackers.
They want to use your website to send spam or host a virus, find out more information about you, the bank you use, your date of birth, your mother’s maiden name, etc
They can then use your username and password from one account to try and login to another.
They can then try and reset your bank password by using your email address to reset the password.
They may pretend to be you on facebook, to message your friends and try and scam them, acting as you.
If you can’t see the reasons why someone may benefit from hacking your account, then ask yourself, why is there a password in the 1st place? There are reasons, even if it’s not immediately obvious.
How to create a good safe password
1. make it long
you are not up against a person who is never going to guess the combination of your dog’s name and the year you were born because no one would guess that, would they? You are up against a machine, who trys every combination and is VERY fast, so long is best.
2. make it easy for you
‘thisismyveryveryhardpassword‘ is better than a word and a number, because it’s longer, but they are both equally easy to remember.
3. use upper case, lower case and numbers
‘THISismyveryVERYhardpassword1977‘ is better, but it’s still easy for a human and hard for the hacker.
4. put the numbers in the middle
the word then number combination is a known method to hackers, so try the numbers in the middle somewhere like ‘THISismyveryVERY1977hardpassword’
5. use some symbols
‘THIS!ismyveryVERY1977hardpassword‘ is getting to the point where the hacker has no chance.
6. break a word
‘THIS!ismyveryVERY1977h4rdpassword‘ really is getting to the point where the hacker has no chance as you have stopped simply using whole words, which hackers often try.
Obviously, don’t use this password, it’s just an example, think of something easy for YOU to remember, then mix it up a bit, swap letters, add numbers etc, you need an easy method for you, but a hard method for the hacker.
Then test it using https://howsecureismypassword.net/.
And then test your old one! You will be surprised/horrified.
Brute force methods used to hack passwords:
1. is the password in the top 200 commonly used passwords? why not try them all.
2. is it a word number combination? why not try them all.
3. is it 8 characters or fewer because EVERY combination of 8 characters can be tried in a few hours by a computer.
Don’t be consistent
NEVER use the same combination of your email address and password (no matter how hard you make it) for multiple logins.
if your password is stored somewhere in some database of some website you once signed up to, and that site gets hacked, the hacker will try the same combination on Facebook, Google, Twitter, Hotmail, PayPal, EVERYWHERE, and once they get into any of these, they can do a lot of damage.
FORGET ALL OF THE ABOVE
Download a password manager, create an account, make the password hard, let it change all your passwords for 30 character randomly generated passwords, forget all other passwords than the one to login to the password manager.
I use LastPass, it’s great. I know one password, LastPass knows the others.