Some people who know me may know that my passwords are absurd. When I say absurd, I mean the black dots fill up the bar and it doesn’t look like you’re typing because it’s so long.
As you may have seen in various headlines, companies get hacked. A lot. Equifax , credit score company, was hacked in 2017 and 147 million consumers data was released. Zynga, the company that made Words with Friends, Draw Something, all those huge games on Facebook that were big in middle school and high school, got hacked in 2019 the emails, Facebook logins, and phone numbers of 218 million people were released. In 2016, Yahoo was hacked and 3 BILLION names, emails, telephone numbers, and birth dates were exposed. Needless to say, your password is important and at least one of your passwords is definitely on the dark web somewhere. If you use 1-3 passwords for everything, you’re especially screwed. If hackers have one of your passwords, they can get into many of your accounts and get all sorts of information.
You’re welcome for giving you a newly diagnosed panic disorder. But memorizing a million passwords is also absurdly difficult. You can’t memorize 100+ passwords with a different password for each website right? Well no, and I’m not recommending that.
Why Your Passwords are Terrible
A blog I read somewhat sporadically is xkcd.com. It’s a fun, smart, stupid blog that is a bunch of comics that usually have something to do with science and math. Sometimes they’re stupid jokes and other times they’re a bit explanatory. The one I came across and that I’m going to explain here is about password strength.
Most people’s passwords are these strange amalgam of substitution letters, numbers, and weird symbols. These passwords are annoying to remember because no one spells water bottle like w4t3r_B0tT!e and it’s hard to remember because you can’t remember what letters and numbers were substituted. The most annoying part about this is that the confusing characters don’t actually make it harder for a computer to hack you. A computer isn’t a human, they don’t think like us. They don’t correlate certain letters together. So w4t3r_B0tT!e is no harder to guess than ‘water bottle’ because both of them have the same number of characters and computers know what the common substitutions are. They’re both 13 characters long and the computer will use the common substitutions characters to get there. The key to making a stronger password is to create a passphrase with more characters for the computer to guess.
What is a Passphrase?
The way to make passwords easier for you to remember but harder for a computer to guess is to use passphrases. Some kind of sentence or random string of words and then add the weird characters so the website lets you input the password. For example, you could make your password a sentence like “jetfuelcantmeltsteelbeams1!”. It’s a much longer password, which will take a computer much longer to guess, however, you’re not going to forget that memey sentence.
How Do I Remember All of These Passwords??
“But you said I have to make a new password for every single account. I could still get hacked because I’m using the same 1-3 long ass passwords.” Yes imaginary reader, you are correct. Which is why I highly recommend everyone use some kind of password saver. LastPass, 1Password, whatever you want. I personally use 1Password. I have an unnecessarily long password that I remember and that way I can make a new password for every account without worrying about forgetting. One cool thing about 1Password specifically is that they have an option where you can make the password a mixture of 3-7 words so it follows this same formula in the comic above.
You could also just use the create strong password that is in iPhone, I don’t know if Android has it but I assume it would have a similar feature. Those passwords tend to be a random string of characters that are like 20 characters long. That’s great too. Honestly anything is better than your current system.
Personally I don’t want to give Google, Apple, etc all my passwords with the autofill settings just because I’m a bit paranoid they’ll get hacked too. Yes theoretically everything can get hacked, but I’m more bullish about the sites who’s sole mission is to make password vaults rather than Apple or Google who password vaults are just a feature.
Hope this helps y’all. I know this isn’t a Bhangra related blog, but contrary to popular belief, my life is not only Bhangra. I’m going to write about random things I learn and know about that I think are neat and nifty. If you learned anything that’s super cool, let me know in the comments. I love learning new things and honestly this blog is just an excuse for me to constantly learn new things so I have new things to write about.
- Use a password software like LastPass or 1Password
- Make it a passphrase instead of a single word like “howmanymiceareinsideacartonofvelveeta”
- Use a different password for each website