There is a lot of information available out there on how to create that perfect password. As long as you follow the rules, your password should be strong and difficult to crack. Or at the very least, your password should be strong enough to outlast a few rounds of brute force attacks – giving you enough time to change your login credentials.
But what people so often fail to account for, are all of those password no-no’s. You see, even if you are following the password rules, you still might come out of it with a pretty awful password. This is because hackers have found a way to use these rules to their advantage. They’ve identified patterns and have started using these patterns to crack even the most rule-abiding of passwords.
So to avoid having your solid passwords go to waste, here are three major things you should watch out for:
Not only have we been told that numbers make passwords stronger, but most online accounts require numbers inside passwords. Unfortunately, though, numbers only make passwords stronger if you use them correctly. Many people have the natural tendency to attach a sequence of numbers to the back of the password; however, hackers know this is going to happen, so they automatically check for it.
A better option for those numbers is to stick them inside the password. Hackers are less likely to crack this. Or, if you’re absolutely dead set on attaching numbers to the back (or front) of your password, then just make sure the numbers are legitimately random. In other words, don’t use “123” or “9876.”
Phrases are perfect for passwords… but only if they’re unique. Just like people naturally feel the need to throw “123” onto the backs of their passwords, people naturally want to use the same phrases. It really doesn’t make any sense. There are millions upon millions of word combinations out there that it’s slightly amazing (in the worst possible way) that people feel the need to use the same phrases for their passwords.
Everyone always wants to claim their love for something (Ilovepizza, Ilovefootball, Ilovecamping), and people really love using famous movie quotes or songs. Avoid doing this. These types of phrases are an automatic check for hackers.
Certain letters or words have common keyboard replacements. ‘E’ can be replaced with ‘3.’ ‘At’ can be replaced with ‘@.’ And ‘B’ can be replaced with ‘8.’ And if the rest of your password is pretty rock-solid, then that’s okay. But if you’re relying on these common replacements to push you through a hack, you’ll be sorry.
Remember, hackers know people are going to do this, so of course, they’re going to check for it. As a matter of interest, their password-cracking software will automatically check it for them.