Passwords are a way of life, they are used for everything from banking to subscriptions for streaming services, to apps for our favorite meals. Yet, year on year, the easiest and most common passwords are on the top of the list (‘12345’ and ‘password’) and little thought is given to creating a strong, more secure password. If you work in an office, or even in a remote office, you’ve probably heard at nauseum from an IT team member about “using a complex password.”

But what does that mean exactly?

Complex passwords use a combination of different characters: upper-case letters, lower-case letters, numbers, and special characters. Using this combination, it makes any automated password cracking tool take far more time and resources to decipher the said password. However, if your password is less than 8 characters in length, this can be proven moot. This is because the fewer characters you have, the number of different combinations of those characters drops significantly. Meaning that automated password cracking tools can do their job quicker. Next, we need to consider changing our passwords on a regular basis. If we use the same password for years, then it’s easier to compromise. The final item to consider is re-using the same password for multiple logins. Should it become compromised, then everything is accessible to the bad guy.

None of this is meant to scare you (although it is frightening to think of), but more to raise your awareness in taking care of selecting a password. Yes, it should be easy to remember, but that does not mean it should be easy to guess or to break.

Below is a quick list of items we spoke of earlier.

Passwords should be:

  • At least 8 (eight) characters or longer
  • A combination of:
    • Lowercase letters
    • Uppercase letters
    • Special characters
    • Numbers
  • Different for each login
  • Regularly changed or updated

With these in mind, we hope you will practice good password security and have a safer online experience.