Back in the day, it was acceptable to use a simple password. Something related to your pet or favorite sports team. If you still think that's okay, let me tell you now…it's not okay.
Have you noticed that websites are requiring longer and more involved passwords? Requiring at least 6 characters with a mix of numbers, letters and maybe even special characters. There's a reason for that. Hackers are smarter and can use computer programs or “bots” to figure out your password. Email, social media (Facebook, Twitter, Google+, myspace, etc.), and blogs are just a few examples of target sites for hackers.
Hackers know the tricks. Technology has evolved, and it isn't too difficult and won't take long for a program to use a dictionary to try to figure out your password. That's why it's important to avoid using words that can be found in a dictionary, even if you use numbers in the word. Here are some examples of words that you shouldn't use, just to give you an idea.
Bad Passwords: t1Tan1c, LoVe, 4ung3r Gam35
(in some of these, zero was used in place of ‘o,' 3 was used in place of ‘e', 4 in place of ‘h' and 5 for ‘s')
So what's the bottom line?
- Don't use the same password for every website you visit
- Have a password that's at least 8 characters long
- Use a mix of uppercase letters, lowercase letters, numbers and special characters
- Don't use everyday words or words found in the dictionary
- Avoid things connected to you personally (user id's, names, pets, birthdays, etc.)
- Change your password periodically
You really shouldn't write your password down on a piece of paper or save it in your email. Actually, NEVER EVER do that. BUT, you can get a password manager application for your Windows/Mac. Personally, I recommend SplashID (there's an app version available so you can take it with you) but do your homework, read some reviews and find the software that works best for you.
You ought to know: How strong is your password?