New Password for the New Year

Wednesday, January 4th, 2012

It’s a new year! Do you have a new password to go along with your New Year’s resolution? If you’ve been using the same password for a while now, it’s time to change it. If you’ve been using the same password for every login, it’s time to change that bad habit.

Top 5 Reason For a New Password

  1.  Security
    Did you know the most common password in 2011 was PASSWORD? If that was your password this year, you could be a target for hacking, identity theft, and other bad things that come from having such an obvious password.
  2. Improve your memory
    One of the best ways to improve your memory is to challenge it. What better challenge than trying to remember your email password after having the same one for years?
  3. It’s fun
    Ok, well, this might not be fun for everyone. If you like the challenge of changing dozens of passwords (like me), then welcome to the world of OCD/paranoia/fun. By the way, I’m not kidding about having dozens of passwords to change.
  4. Security
    Did I mention how important this is?  While we may want to trade convenience for security, the downsides of that strategy could really put you in a world of hurt. In a time of massive data breeches, having a strong password is essential. To help protect yourself when one service is compromised, you should be using different logins.
  5. Security
    Really.

The question, then, is, “What’s a strong password?” The strongest password is a series of nonsensical letters and numbers, with special characters for good measure. Here’s an example of a strong password: 

3kj4i38ur#iuienq!iuieq+

No one will ever guess that, and it’ll take all the computing power of the world running non-stop  to crack it. But you’re not going to be able to remember it. Compound that with having a different password for every service, and it’s a huge pain. Time to go back to your dog’s name as a password, right? There’s a better way.

A Great Method For a Great Password

A simple formula:

Your favorite color + the service name + the year = GREAT PASSWORD

It’s just that easy. An example: I like the color red, and I visit Amazon.com in 2012. My password would then be

redama2012

Pretty good, but it can be better. If you add some capitalization it’ll be stronger. And throw in a special character while you’re at it:

RedAma2012!

You see, if you create a password from a few memorable elements and add special characters, you get a password that’s very hard to break. The longer, the better. A password like this, with a mix of six letters, four numbers, and a special character would take  a very long time to break.

Now you’ve got a password that I guarantee* will never be hacked. Go forth into 2012 with a new password and confidence!

*Not a guarantee
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