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World Password Day: Commonly used password mistakes and how to avoid them

When it comes to hackers and their password attacks, you have a lot more power than you think.

A good password is all that may stand between you and a cybercriminal. (FIle Image)

Passwords are not meant to be shared, whether you’re among your friends or relatives. We want to keep our passwords private to protect our personal lives, and that includes our financial information. A good password is all that may stand between you and a cybercriminal. When it comes to hackers and their password attacks, you have a lot more power than you think. According to NortonLifeLock, there are six types of password mistakes that are commonly used.

#Pet names: Predictable passwords can be easily cracked by hackers, who could force their way into your accounts by simply guessing common pet names. Using your pet’s name as a password could make you an easy target for callous cybercriminals.

#Spouse/ partner names:  Research shows that people in relationships share PINs, passwords, or exchange fingerprints to access each other’s devices. Moreover, people tend to use their current or former spouse or partner’s names as passwords. Given that your partner or spouse’s name is usually available on your social media updates/posts, this practice exposes you to unnecessary password risks.

#Date of birth: Choosing your birthday, your birth year, or a number that might be a lot of other people’s birthday or birth year makes your password significantly easier to guess. If your password is your birth date, a year in the 1900s, or an obvious numerical sequence, the chances of hackers cracking your password are way higher.

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#Sequence words: In most cases, it turns out that you have a good chance of getting into many peoples’ accounts – and computers – by just typing sequential alphabets on the keywords – or just the six letters on the top row of a keyboard, ‘qwerty’.

#Numeric: Any password without an alphabet or symbol, is by default a bad password. Some of the common passwords in the world are 12345 or 111111.

#Common phrases: These are as secure as you might think. Many people, use common phrases from books or popular movies that are easily guessed. ‘Password123’ or ‘idonthaveapassword’ are some of the most used phrases.

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Tips to create strong passwords

#Never use phone numbers, addresses, birthdays, your name, family members’ names, or pets’ names in your password.#Select a combination of uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers, and symbols for your passwords.

#Never use common passwords like “123456,” “password,” or “qwerty.”

#Make sure your passwords are at least eight characters long. Passwords with more characters and symbols are more difficult to guess.

#Don’t use common words or phrases in your passwords. If you want to use them, alter the word or abbreviate the phrase. For example, if you want to use the word “eleven” you can convert it to “e13v3N.” Or if you want to use the phrase “I love to shop” you can change it to “1luv2sh0p.” Make it even stronger by adding symbols and punctuation: “#1Luv2sh0p!”

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#Opt for two-factor authentication (2FA) or multi-factor authentication whenever offered to add an extra layer of protection to your accounts. For example, in addition to logging in with a username and password, you’ll use an additional code received via text to complete your account login.

#Use password management systems to help you create and remember complex passwords.

“Using strong passwords across all your online accounts ensures a safer and securer digital life. When you create a strong password, it not only helps protect your device from viruses, spyware, malware, and ransomware attacks but it also helps give you that extra layer of safety in the event of your online privacy being exposed. Thus, ensuring the cyber safety in this era of the digital world,” said Ritesh Chopra, Director, Sales and Field Marketing, India and SAARC Countries, NortonLifeLock.

First published on: 05-05-2022 at 15:30 IST
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