Let’s face it, for the majority of us, the effort we put into creating secure passwords to protect our information is akin to putting our door keys under the mat to thwart a burglar. That’s the first place they look. It is the same scenario for securing your keyword-protected information in your computer. Often, all the average hacker has to do is look under the proverbial mat to hack into your computer. His minimal efforts easily reveals a wealth of unsecured information like bank accounts, social security numbers and credit card information. In spite of being bombarded by messages to properly secure sensitive computer information, we all to often throw the key under the mat and forget about it.
Unfortunately, our negligence is the product of human nature. After all, there are a number of reasons for not being more diligent in securing our information. Secure passwords need to be managed. Being unable to memorize a dozen or so passwords, we tend to use the same password for everything, rendering all our private information vulnerable to a single hacker. We tend to only use passwords that are easy to remember, making it easier for the passwords to be hacked. Once we’ve selected a password, it lives on perpetuity, never again subject to review or revision. Also, coming up with a secure password requires some thought if it is to be effective.
You might also want to eschew the use of proper grammar in your passwords. Recently, researchers at Carnegie Mellon University created an algorithm that they say can crack lengthy, grammatically correct sentences arranged as a phrase. They urge the disuse of phrases such as “thispasswordrules” as being too grammatically easy to decipher. What are some of the most easily cracked passwords? Splash data has just released it list of the worst passwords for 2012. Offenders include: “password”, “123456” and “12345678”. Also avoid using “abc123”,”monkey” and “qwerty”. For tips on authoring strong passwords, visit http://mashable.com/2010/10/08/password-management-tools and don’t leave your passwords under the mousepad.