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Passwords are getting more and more a part of our daily life. With many services relying more and more on their users going online, you can get many passwords to keep in mind. Remembering them all can be a daunting task. And if your work make you change your passwords every other week, you’re in really big trouble.

Here in Norway we have become very Internet dependent in our every day tasks. We pay our bills online, we register our income tax report online, we make doctors appointments over the Internet, we are highly represented in Facebook and its equals . If we get unemployed, we have to register and fill in every personal information in secure websites. We even apply for loan, jobs etc via the net.

So the question is, how do you keep track of all the passwords? How creative are you ?

How easy (or hard) is it to guess your passwords ?

Commonly used passwords

Back in December, the website known as RockYou.com was hacked and thousands of usernames and passwords was published openly on the net. When researchers took a closer look at people’s passwords, they discovered that most of us think a like. And let me tell you, we are NOT very creative when it comes to choosing our passwords.

The top 20 passwords in the hacked user list were:

  • 123456
  • 12345
  • 123456789
  • Password
  • iloveyou
  • princess
  • rockyou
  • 1234567
  • 12345678
  • abc123
  • Nicole
  • Daniel
  • babygirl
  • monkey
  • Jessica
  • Lovely
  • michael
  • Ashley
  • 654321
  • Qwerty

The main reason for this, is thought to be that we all need something easy to remember. Especially if we are to remember different passwords for different sites and security portals.  If we are to create more secure passwords, many of us then tend to use the same one everywhere.

Security Experts advice against both tendencies. Hackers very often use programs or algorithms to guess passwords when hacking a site or user profile. These tools often use a method, where it types in commonly used key combinations, passwords and “random” letters. And if you use any of the above passwords, you might as well have no password at all.

Okay, not every site you visit has crucial  and personal information about you, but it pays to at least consider which site or online service needs a more secure password.

Another fun fact for you

People who change their passwords on a regular basis, often follow the seasons. Thus creating passwords like, Summer2010, Summer123, Autum345, winter10, spring 1234 and so on.  Next time your workplace require that you change your password, take a stroll over to your co-workers and test these passwords: test123, test1234, monday123, 1234tuesday, etc. You’d be surprised how many computers you could access.

This goes to show that as individuals, we are not very individual. We all think alike. Being aware of this fact, may help to use secure passwords, where secure passwords are required.

How to keep my passwords secure yet easy to remember ?

Some experts suggest you collect all your passwords and logins in a key storage program (like KeyPass). But this would require yet another password. Others suggest, keep them saved in a textfile (or note in your wallet) BUT do not write down to which site they belong.

Another suggestion, which I prefer is to create short sentences which can be related to the site and what you do there. For example, your online bank where you pay bills and check whats left in your account, could have the password: “LetsPaySomeBills2Day“. Or your Email Account: “IwannaCheckMyMail“. Another suggestion is to use the website followed by a random number: “mintywhite765“. If you have a favourite quote you could try to memorize it backwards, for laughs (or security): “sardaMehToTtIekaT”.

The point being that if you get a bit more creative, remembering secure passwords doesn’t necessarily mean you forget them or to which site they belong. If you create a password that relates to the task, remembering it will not be such a problem after all.

Have fun creating those secure passwords.

About Thomas

Computer geek from the age of 7, which amounts to 30 years of computer experience. From the early days (when every computer company had their own OS) of DOS, Windows 1.0 through Seven...

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One thought on “Am I Able to Guess Your Passwords?”

  1. RSVR85 says:

    Keepass FTW!

Comments are closed.

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