By: James Peterso
Choosing a password for a new account is usually an easy task for many people, since it has been proven that the average computer user simply uses the same relatively simple password for every website they go on.
Whilst this makes things a lot easier for the user, it unfortunately poses a major security risk. This is for two main reasons:
1) Having a simple password can be easily guessed via certain software tools (more on this later)
2) Having the same password for every website means that if one website gets hacked, a hacker now has control of the password you use for every single website (a potential solution to this major problem is discussed later as well)
Hence it is important that you pick a difficult password to guess, and i is also suggested that you use more than one password (be it a few different passwords that you inter-change, or a unique password for each and every website you register on).
It is important to choose a complicated password, since there are software tools out there that may attempt to "brute force" guess your password by trying a lot of different possible passwords (sometimes via a list of 'most commonly used' passwords) to login to your account. Clearly if you have a simple password (for example "apple", "dog1" or simply a letter of the alphabet/a number), such software tools may be able to guess your password very easily. This may have disastrous effects since some people use the same password on all websites, including their online bank account.
When choosing your password, try and pick a password that is completely random - containing lower and upper-case letters and also numbers and aim to have its length between 6 and 12 characters long. This makes your password very difficult to guess, if not impossible by traditional technology (since a random 10 character password would have around 8 quintillion different possible combinations!)
However having such a complicated password then creates an issue in that you obviously can't remember such a password. Hence it is suggested that you either write down each password in a book that you keep in your home/close to you, or that you have a password protected file on your computer (or a password bank software program) that keeps track of each password you use.
Many website browsers nowadays have built-in facilities to securely store your password. For example, the latest version of Firefox allows you to store passwords and also encrypt them by setting a master password. Internet Explorer, Google Chrome, Apple Safari and other browsers have similar features.
Also consider a dedicated password storing software such as Roboform. This piece of software uses military strength encryption to keep your passwords safe. Whilst tools like Roboform are paid-for pieces of software, a small investment today can pay big dividends over time considering that it might completely protect you from being hacked.
The tips outlined in this article will maximise your online security, and will be worth it in the long run! Hackers are everywhere, so don't make it easy for them.
James Peterson is a writer at http://www.computerlover.com/