Yes, we have all heard that we need to use a good, secure password, but few people really give much thought to their passwords. Are you one of them? As someone who spends a lot of time trying to make the websites that we build more secure, I am here to tell you, that you probably are.
You see, what I have come to realize is that most people aren’t really sure what a good, secure password is and they are not sure why it matters. Most of us know that our password to our online banking accounts needs to be really strong. We don’t want someone accessing our account and stealing our hard earned cash. The banks, themselves, require us to input the proper number and type of characters to help us stay secure. They even make you enter special answers to security questions, just to add another level of security. And, I will bet you found it frustrating the last time you were asked to enter a new answer to yet another question. I know, I have been there, too.
Is all of this really necessary? Yes! Is it really foolproof? No!!
We have all heard the reports of some of the largest companies out there being hacked into and having customer credentials stolen. You probably even had to go reset your password, as a result. When it comes right down to it, passwords are not secure. There are always ways around them or ways to figure them out. However, until we move to a new security standard (these are in the works), we will have to rely on our old friend the password.
I like to think of using passwords sort of like a car and car keys. If you leave your car unlocked and the keys in the ignition, it is going to be a lot easier for someone to steal your car than it would be if you locked the doors and took the keys with you. Can someone still pick the lock and hot-wire the car? Sure they can, but it takes someone with a lot more skill to do that, so your security increased greatly just by locking the doors and taking the keys. Now, when some unsavory character comes walking through the parking lot, checking for unlocked cars, he will move on to another vehicle and not bother with yours.
Your password is your key. The website you log into is the car and the security protocols set up on that site are the locks. If you use a poor password, it is sort of like locking the car and leaving the key hanging in the car door. The same thing can be said for writing your password on a sticky note and sticking it to your computer monitor if you work in an office with other people. So, the best way to secure your online life, is to use a better key (password), and keep that key safe, as well. Think about a strong password as being like one of those new car keys with the computer chip in them. It is still a key, but it has a much stronger security than an old skeleton key.
Our next post will discuss what makes a good and bad password and how you can easily use good passwords without having to remember them all. I encourage you to read it. It may keep your car from getting stolen!