Gone are the days of creating weak, ineffective passwords. The digital world is changing fast – and no – it’s not going to change in a good way. Thus, if your password is 123456, ninja, password1, welcome or anything similarly sounding, it’s time to change them right away. There simply isn’t an alternative available to strong, effective passwords.
Despite how popular smart-cards, biometrics and other authentication devices have become, they still can’t seem to replace the good old username and password. However, a password fails to fulfill its purpose if it’s deemed weak/ineffective, using passwords that can be easily guessed, i.e. your date of birth, your name or using most commonly know terms or words as a your password could certainly classify as a weak password. As a result, information security experts recommend that users should always create strong, effective passwords. However, how many words, symbols or letters does it take to create unbreakable passwords?
According the National Institute of Standards and Technology, a strong password should contain a minimum 12 characters – this is also the same standard followed by the U.S government. In general, most people don’t have passwords compromising of 12 characters – and that’s fine as long as your password is within the bare minimum of 8 characters. People often believe that the more complex their password is, the more hard-to-remember it going to be. Contrary to this notion, security experts recommend that users focus on length rather the complexity – by complexity they mean a combination of letters, symbols and words – while length is the number of characters your password should contain – as previously discussed. This is because hacking software known as a password cracker has better chance cracking complex passwords than it does with cracking long passwords. In a nutshell, complexity is less important than the length of your password.
With an increasing requirement to setup a user account for virtually any web based services; people are expected to remember countless sets of user-credentials making it impossible for anyone to remember them all. For example, if you want to apply for a job at a company, you are required to create your professional profile on the company’s website. Consequently, it’s likely that you’ll be setting up hundreds of profiles like these over your professional career – if not thousands. Therefore, tool such as a password manager are in demand. Most password managing tools are able to detect and save passwords once you log into that particular website. In addition, if you need to sign up on a new website, such tools can also fill out forms for you, generate a strong password and save it for you. In essence, these software applications do all the hard-work for you. So what happens if you need to login from another computer and don’t remember your password which was saved in your password manager? Well, all modern day password managers let you access your account from the internet, or you can download the application which will sync with your account.
It seems that if you want to use online services, you are required to sign up. Most websites rarely offer their services to unregistered users. Consequently, a password managing app can be an invaluable tool – saving time and effort.