LinkedIn Password hack and creating strong passwords

We hear it from security experts all the time – use strong passwords on all of your accounts.  So often, people use weak passwords and also use the same password for multiple accounts.  We have all been guilty of this at some point.  We find a password that we remember and are comfortable with and we tend to stick with that password because we can remember it and it makes sense to us.  However from a security standpoint, this is not very wise and it can even be dangerous leaving our sensitive information vulnerable to hackers.

Also, the password hack of LinkedIn showed that most likely the same hacked password would also be the correct password for multiple accounts since we tend to all think alike when it comes to creating passwords.  What keeps end users from using strong passwords?  Well, reasoning differs from person to person, but we conjecture here that a lot of times people are intimidated and don’t want to use a strong password since they feel like they can’t remember the password themselves.  This can be true if you don’t have a system to creating passwords.  How can you create a strong password that you can remember?  Well, this doesn’t have to be that difficult.

A really easy way to create a very effective strong password is to think of a phrase that is easy to remember or that maybe only makes sense to you and pick and choose a set of letters from each word to create your password.  Think of the phrase as your key so to speak.  Without knowing the “key,” the password in itself doesn’t make any sense, which is what we want.  So for instance think of the phrase – “My grandma drives a white pinto with a red streak in the middle.”  If we took the first letter of every word for starters: mgdawpwarsitm …that in itself would be a formidable starter password, but then if we capitalize the first letter maybe and then add a number and a special character for instance: Mgdawpwarsitm9$ we have just created a really strong password!  So think of a system as we have described above and then a number and special character combo.  Then adding the capital character on the front solidifies the strength of the password.  Now can the password above be hacked?  Yes….NO password is fool proof, but you significantly reduce your risk of compromise by using something like the above than passwords such as love, god, or sex.  You get the point.

We are all creatures of habit and we tend to stick with what we know.  However, these days, with our lives being housed in the digital world more than ever, thinking about password safety is a must and with each passing day is becoming even more necessary.  By using simple techniques we can drastically improve our digital security.

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