How to avoid using easy-to-guess passwords

We’ve all been guilty of using our mother’s maiden name or the nickname for our favourite pet as our password before. 

While the majority of us realise the importance of strong passwords, it’s just so easy to default to using familiar phrases to secure our various online accounts.

Even in 2021, we keep making the same mistakes when it comes to using ironclad credentials online. A recent poll found that millions of hacked passwords were linked to our favourite football teams. 

But the days of using simplistic words to secure our details online could soon be on the way out. The UK government recently announced it was thinking about banning easy-to-guess default passwords in IoT devices – like ‘password’ or ‘admin’ – from being used by manufacturers.  

While this currently doesn’t mean consumers will be obliged to use tougher encryption in their online accounts, it does draw a line in the sand and show that policymakers are thinking of ways to cut down on the scourge of hacking. 

Regardless of what the government decides, it’s just good practice to use strong passwords. Fortunately, there’s one very easy way to keep solid credentials without having to remember a 12-character string of numbers, symbols and letters: Password managers. 

How to use a password manager 

Password managers store, generate and update unique passwords for you with just the press of a button. The joy of a good manager is that you, in essence, only need to remember one set of credentials – the ones you use to log into the password manager. 

If you’re willing to spend a bit of money, these managers can sync your passwords across all of your devices, give you the choice to add extensions to internet browsers and will alert you if your password has potentially been breached. And let us tell you on that last point – that is supremely helpful. 

There are lots of password managers out there, including DashlaneKeeper and BitWarden. Some are free and some require a small subscription – do your research and find out what best fits your needs. 

It’s also worth noting that your web browser – such as Safari, Chrome and Firefox – will likely have built-in password controls. Remember, these are likely to be a lot more limited than fully-fledged managers. The same is true for the in-built password settings on most modern smartphones where you have to use biometrics – such as your fingerprint – to access these. 

 

Interested in finding out some more online security best practice? Then check out these links: