Using passwords has become so common, so workaday, that we barely even think about it any more. From unlocking your phone, to logging into your email, to accessing your bank account…we are surrounded by passwords. That’s why many people simply assume the process of password protection is automatically effectively. Sadly, this is not the case. As it turns out roughly 90% of passwords used by individuals are hackable even by novices.
The reality of password vulnerability struck on a countrywide level recently when a bomb scare sent the stock market into a dive:
“Hacking is becoming more and more common and causing big trouble for everyone from average Americans to big companies.
Just this week, the Associated Press was hacked and a fake tweet was sent claiming that the White House was bombed.
The fake tweet sent the stock market in a downward spiral, costing billions of dollars.
And it was all because of a password that was hacked.” – KTNV.com
In general, people find passwords annoying and inconvenient so they select easily phrases that are easily remembered. All too often people will use names of pets, children, birthday days, etc etc. In fact, they’ll often use the same password across all of their electronic accounts, meaning when one gets hacked all the others are vulnerable.
Good password practice means using a mixture of capital and lower case letters as well as symbols and numerals. For accounts that can’t afford to be hacked individuals should use at least 8-9 characters with capitals, numerals, AND an random character such as an asterisk or exclamation point.
Many companies are now providing guidelines when signing up for accounts, giving hints on how strong a password is or outright refusing to accept weak passwords. These companies should not be seen as annoying gatekeepers, and the practice of developing strong passwords should leak over to every account a user establishes.