In this day and age, we are required to use passwords every day, from signing into Facebook to purchasing something from Amazon. Passwords are used to keep personal information such as emails, banking information and even sensitive data secure.

Well that is the idea…

It seems like every week there is a news story about a company being hacked and personal details being stolen, and yet people are still using simple passwords such as ‘123456’ to keep their information ‘safe’. linux-login-1497422-640x480

The top 5 most common passwords of 2014 were: 

  1. 123456
  2. password
  3. 12345
  4. 12345678
  5. qwerty

If you are using any of these right now, we suggest that you change them immediately. Using basic passwords makes it simpler for hackers to steal any data or personal information you hold.

Here are 4 ways to make your passwords as secure as possible:

  1. Don’t use the same password for different services

On average, we have to remember 19 different passwords. We know it can be hard to remember all of them, but the problem with using the same password across different sites is that if a hacker managed to compromise one of your accounts, they could do it on all of them.

  1. Make it memorable to you

The best passwords are the ones that only make sense to you but are easy for you to remember. To create a strong password, try using acronyms for a memorable piece of information. It is also recommended that you include numbers and symbols to make the password stronger, such as replacing an ‘I’ with ‘1’ or ‘!’.

  1. Update passwords regularly

You are probably using the same password for a site that you haven’t changed for a while. The longer you use the same password, the more likely it will be compromised. We recommend updating your password monthly, and to ensure you don’t forget, add this task to your calendar as a reminder.

  1. Use password management software 

Many of us struggle to remember all of our passwords, and while you can write them down, this is not recommended. There are some useful password management software out there such as Lastpass and Dashlane that can securely keep your passwords in one place if you can’t remember them all. It is recommended however that the master password you use to access these apps is strong.

Want to know how secure your passwords are? Try out this Microsoft password checker. (Microsoft promise it is secure.)