5 Ideas to Change the Password You Use for All Online Accounts
On May 7, we celebrate World Password Day. This occasion is a great chance to enhance the complexity and strength of online security measures which often remain weak - our passwords.
As many as 83% of Americans still use passwords that are far too easy to crack.
Worryingly, obvious options including 123456, qwerty, and password are still on the list of the most popular. But the majority of users try to be original … going for their own name, the name of a family member or a pet, followed by birthdays, words related to hobbies, people’s home addresses and more.
If your passwords fall within any of the categories above, you should change them immediately. Or, if it’s easier for you to remember, you could always call your dog B1gLeBoWoW$k1%539.
Jokes aside, there are many ways to create truly secure and unique passwords. If you are sick and tired of hearing obvious tips from Captain Hindsight, the Clario team has collected some of our most original ideas together to help inspire you. So, let’s get creative. As long as you can remember it, then anything goes...
Idea 1. Birthday of a boss you hate
Face it, probably everyone gets a chance to work with a boss who’s really tough at least once in their lifetime. Managers who set impossible deadlines, arrive late to meetings, never listen attentively enough, and just drive you up the wall.
As crazy as they make you feel, you could set up this boss’ birthday date as your password. It’s a strange tribute to someone you’ve never liked but will never forget. Even if it’s for all the wrong reasons.
For the love of all things cyber, be sure to avoid only using numbers in your password, especially if they are sequential. For a perfectly secure password, go for a mix of uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers, and a symbol or two. Something like Johanna17081975! will work way better than just a date of birth.
Idea 2. A song you love to sing in the shower
Admit it. You’ve belted out an Elvis Presley classic (at least) once or twice while lathered up in the shower.
Listening to music is a simple pleasure, especially if you have a great bath time playlist to sing, nod or blow bubbles along with. No matter what you’re grooving to - be it a roof raising club hit or a bizarre indie pop tune - just sing your heart out. After all, who needs a stage when you have the shower?
If there is a particular song that has a special place in your ears and your heart, then why not use it as your password? Do you have too many songs to choose from? Even better. The more chance you’ll choose something hackers will never select.
When Millennials and members of Gen Z use the same password for up to 20 accounts, it’s good practice to avoid making this number even higher. Be sure to pick as many songs as you like and turn them into different secure passwords. Just look how original and fun they can be (try not to sing when you read our options):
Idea 3. A painting you love but do not fully understand
We all have definitions of what’s beautiful and what’s awkward or at least challenging to comprehend.
But artists of all types sometimes take any definition of awkward to a whole new level. Some express them in paintings, others in design, pen, sculpture, and ink. Some become incredibly famous, others don’t. They are all different, but what makes them the same is … the originality of the names they give to their artworks.
For example, take the great surrealist Salvador Dali. While some of his paintings are incredibly rich in meaning, they are also rich in symbols and words. The names of some of his creations consist of more than 94 characters(!), meaning they could make up perfect, uncrackable passwords.
Inspired by Dali’s paintings, you could come up with a password as long as DreamCausedByTheFlightOfABeeAroundAPomegranateASecondBeforeAwakening … but we’d advise you not to go that far. The perfect password length is 16 characters, so try to keep your combination around this limit. Dali’s FigureOnTheRocks is a perfect fit.
Idea 4. Quotes to help you stop procrastinating
When we find ourselves scrolling through our Facebook feed, playing a video game or simply putting off whatever needs to be done immediately - we feel bad. Incredibly bad.
Often, procrastination doesn’t do much other than leaving us with an increasingly unmanageable to-do list; it’s quite heavy on the mind. To light a fire under your backside and push you to finish the unfinished, pick a short motivational quote and make it a password. Not only will it enhance the security of your online accounts, but it will also serve as a little extra kick to help you get back to work quickly.
Using passphrases instead of passwords is a great security practice and helps you increase your chances of surviving a dictionary attack. So go for your favorite motivational quote, like ICanAndIWill or WhateverYouDoDoItWell. It should help you feel more secure, and hopefully more motivated.
Idea 5. Words you use when you spill your coffee
Have you ever spilled your coffee? Got in a Facebook argument? Failed to connect to Wi-Fi? Then you know the words we’re talking about. The majority of us aren’t saints when it comes to the use of swear words, especially in stressful situations.
So don’t beat yourself up whenever those spiky little gems come out of your mouth.
As it turns out, swearing has more benefits than you could ever imagine. From increasing empathy to reducing physical pain and helping us deal with rage - the list goes on and on. But since we are all about online security here, we bet using swear words in your passwords and phrases may also enhance your online security from hackers.
If you’re going to get creative and substitute those linguistic hand grenades with symbols, you’re better off skipping that step. For hackers, it does not really matter what combination you use - be it DOORBELL or D00R8377 - brute force attackers may crack both as easily.
Now that you have so many ways to generate multiple strong and unique passwords, don’t rush to write them in your notebook. We’ve got a better way of helping you remember.
Nailed it: Password management
We all know there is a tradeoff between password security and memorability.
To improve this situation, investigate the potential of password managers. They do all the remembering for you, except for one tricky thing: the master password to the tool itself. This is the only thing you have to remember (and yes we permit you to write it down, if you wish).
Password managers can even generate super complex password combinations that are more difficult to crack than any alternatives we may come up with. But if you want to keep your passwords fun and make online security enjoyable - you can always use song lyrics or swear words instead.
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For extra security, be sure to set up two-factor authentication - this is a way to keep your accounts secure even if bad actors happen to listen to the same song in the shower.
Also, try to use a Virtual Private Network (or VPN), especially when you’re connected to a public Wi-Fi. This will prevent anyone from spying on you, your browsing activity, and your precious passwords.
Last but not least - install antivirus, if you haven't done so yet. This will keep malware and other cyber threats off your scent, letting you enjoy living your digital life without any fears or worries.
So keep calm and choose your passwords responsibly. And for more protection, check out Clario.
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