How to Create a Strong Password … and Password Mistakes to Avoid

Sometimes it feels like in order to log on to a website, you need to have a 100-character password, submit genetic testing and rub your belly and head at the same time. The truth is, passwords are a pain, but they’re good for you. Privacy should always be top of mind. Jessica Naziri here, covering technology and privacy for people like you and me.

Did you know that October is Cybersecurity Month? And yeah, nowadays, there is a celebratory month for everything. Well, CompTIA and I have partnered up because we think that cybersecurity is so important and shouldn’t be limited to just one month. So here are some five tips to help you stay safe online all year round.

4 Password Mistakes

Okay, so let’s start off with the biggest password mistakes people make.

In a position like this, you will find yourself doing things like:

  • Not password protecting your mobile device: Believe it or not, 52% of people are guilty of this. When setting your device password, it’s smart to avoid common choices like 1234, 000 or 5683, which spells out love.
  • Remembering passwords on a device: Never use the save or remember me options on a public computer. The next user could easily access your account.
  • Not recycling passwords: I know, we all hate resetting our passwords every three months. And as soon as you start to remember your password by heart, you end up having to reset it again. But hey, it’s better to be safe than sorry. So make sure not to recycle the same password.
  • Being too familiar: Don’t use dates or names of loved ones or anything else that can be found with some good old online research and Google.

While these may seem simple, some of us need a reminder if we don’t have our IT team to give us the nudge. And hey, I’d rather be on IT’s good side, wouldn’t you?

How to Create Strong Passwords

So you’re probably wondering, what should I do?

Do use two-factor authentication. This requires two different methods to prove identity before you can use a service.

Okay, so now let’s play a little game. Did you know that the most common password is 123456?

I know. It’s hard to believe, but according to the National Cybersecurity Center’s Global Research, that made the list of the most common passwords in the U.S.

A good rule is to make sure that somebody who knows you well couldn’t guess your password in 20 attempts. Use a combination of upper- and lowercase letters, non-sequential numbers and special characters.

Even if the requirement is 6 to 9 characters, expand to 12, 16 or even more to give yourself a stronger password.

So, there you have it. If you want to know more about how to set up a safe password, check out CompTIA.org and we’ll see you next time!


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