Honestly, I can’t recall the last time I seriously considered the safety of my passwords, nor even gave them any thought whatsoever. However, when I arrived at the University of Essex, top of the university’s agenda was to ensure I had a secure password for my emails and files.
I’d always thought I had a secure fleet of passwords. This foolish point of view was cast into oblivion when the university IT team instructed me to create a password of such a complexity I’d never before explored. My new university password had to contain 16 characters including two punctuation marks, two numbers and a mixture of upper and lowercase letters.
I thought that was a ludicrous suggestion. However, perhaps my choices hadn’t been all that secure to start with. Whilst 16 characters may be long for most people, I shouldn’t think you’ve given any serious consideration to your passwords. I’m going to help to make sure your data is safe in this world of ever-increasing threats to our security.
Firstly, you probably have the same password in all different places. Or at least some variation of it. I’m not psychic, nor have I hacked you, merely 87% of people aged 18-30 use the same password on multiple, or even all, their accounts. While it may be easier to keep track of, it’s certainly not safe. You’re giving any hacker the key to all of your information! Having all these passwords could be hard to keep track of, but there are plenty of apps like Dashlane and Keeper which will store all of your passwords and automatically fill them into logon boxes on your phone or laptop.
When it comes to creating these magical strings of secure text, you need to make it as hard as possible to crack. When writing words, try to replace characters like ‘i’ with ‘!’ and ‘o’ with ‘0’! Your phone or computer are even able to generate passwords themselves – you’d never remember them, but password managers can help!
One of the worst things to think is ‘I won’t be a victim of cybercrime’. Hackers are often looking to capture as much information as possible, regardless of who it comes from. It’s really important to keep an eye on your passwords, it could save your information!