How do I choose the right password?
Poor password selection is one of the most common weak points of many sites and is usually the first thing a hacker will try to exploit when attempting to break into your site.
Many people fall into the trap of using a simple word or series of numbers as their password. Such a predictable and simple password would take a competent hacker merely minutes to guess your password by using a simple script which cycles through the easy and most common combinations.
The longer and more complex your password is the harder it is for hackers to “crack” because more complex passwords require much greater computing power and time.
For instance, if you have an extremely simple and common password that’s seven characters long (“abcdefg”), a pro could crack it in a fraction of a millisecond. Add just one more character (“abcdefgh”) and that time increases to five hours. Nine-character passwords take five days to break, 10-character words take four months, and 11-character passwords take 10 years. Make it up to 12 characters, and you’re looking at 200 years’ worth of security – not bad for one little letter.
However, other algorithms are much less optimistic and significantly reduce the prediction of decryption when using very common, even long words that are often already included in hackers’ databases.
Combining numbers and letters rather than sticking with one type of character dramatically enhances password security. A string of nine letters or numbers takes milliseconds to crack. Add a single letter, and your password may become cryptic enough to thwart password crackers for nearly four decades.
However, it’s not as simple as swapping your “e” for a “3” or adding a number at the end of a string of letters. Password attacking methods actually take advantage of those common habits. Your best bet is to simply make your password less predictable and more complicated.