“Is my password secure?” It’s an important question to ask yourself in this age of ever-evolving cybersecurity threats. With hackers perpetually developing more sophisticated cyberthreats, there’s no point in making their jobs easier by creating a password that’s easy to bypass. The strength of your password is key to protecting your website, personal data and other important information. With that in mind, here are some guidelines to assessing your passwords’ security, finally answering the question: Is your password secure?

How Secure Is Your Password If It’s Short?

When choosing or creating a password to your online accounts, it’s best to assign a password that’s difficult for a hacker to guess. When asking yourself “Is my password secure enough?” take the password’s length into consideration. Is your password secure if it consists of the website’s character minimum? Maybe, but not as secure as it could be. A long password is harder for a bad actor to guess than a shorter one. When assessing the question, “Is my password secure?” consider using a password that’s at least 12 characters long. As many as 16 to 20 characters is ideal.

How Secure Is Your Password If It Includes Personal Information?

Is your password secure if it references names or dates? People often insert birthdates, names of pets, and other personal signifiers to create a password that’s easy to remember. Unfortunately, these details can be easily gleaned from social media or other sources by bad actors looking to gain access to your accounts. In fact, you’re better off avoiding dictionary words, or combinations of dictionary words entirely. Your best bet is to construct a password from a lengthy combination of letters, numbers, and characters. If the application is case-sensitive, alternating between uppercase and lowercase letters can also bolster your password’s security. If you’re worried about not being able to remember a lengthy string of seemingly random characters, try using a password manager to safely create, store, and fill in your passwords. That way, you’ll ideally only have to remember one password, the one you use to access your password manager.

How Secure Is Your Password If It’s Common?

Is your password secure? If it’s on this list of most commonly used passwords, then the answer is no—you’re practically inviting bad actors into your accounts. According to the National Institute of Standards and Technology, these are among the most commonly used passwords, and thus, the easiest for a malicious actor to crack:

  • “123456”
  • “password”
  • “12345678”
  • “qwerty” 
  • “111111”
  • “123123”
  • “abc123”
  • “letmein”

Did you notice a pattern between all of these commonly used passwords? While they’re all easy to remember, they also require almost no effort to create. Taking the time and consideration to create a password that’s difficult to guess goes a long way towards safeguarding your data, personal information, and even your finances.

It’s also worth noting that hackers or bots won’t be fooled if you employ a variation of these common passwords, like using “passw0rd” instead of “password.” Substituting “0” for the letter “o,”  “3” for the letter “e,” and so on won’t prevent hackers from cracking your password.

How Secure Is Your Password If You Reuse the Same One?

It’s not if you reuse the same password for multiple websites. It’s bad enough if a hacker gains unauthorized access to one of your accounts, but by reusing the same password, you’re making it easier for them to access every account using that same login. So, is your password secure? The answer is likely no. Using a unique password for each site limits the damage should you fall victim to a security breach and saves you the time and stress involved in scrambling to change all of your passwords at a moment’s notice.

How Secure Is Your Password If You Follow This Advice?

So, how secure is your password? Nothing is completely foolproof, but if you’re following these tips, you’re well-positioned to either avoid getting hacked, or experience limited fallout in the event that you are. Next time you wonder “Is my password secure?,” you’ll feel better about the answer.

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