In today's digital age, passwords play a vital role in safeguarding our online presence and protecting our sensitive information. They act as virtual gatekeepers, granting us access to our emails, social media accounts, financial data, and much more. Just like keys to our homes, strong and well-managed passwords are crucial for ensuring our digital safety and privacy.
However, the importance of passwords is often accompanied by a myriad of questions and concerns. Why are passwords so critical? What makes them vulnerable to hacking attempts? How do hackers attempt to crack passwords? If we fall victim to a breach, which passwords should we change immediately? And most importantly, how can we create secure passwords that are both strong and memorable?
In this FAQ, we will delve into these essential questions to equip you with a comprehensive understanding of passwords, their significance, potential risks, and best practices. Whether you're a tech-savvy individual or new to the world of digital security, this guide will provide you with valuable insights to fortify your online defences.
Why are Passwords Important?
Passwords are essential for protecting your online accounts and personal information. They act like a digital lock, preventing unauthorised access to your emails, social media, bank accounts, and other sensitive data. Having strong and unique passwords helps keep your digital life safe from hackers and cybercriminals.
Why are Passwords not Secure?
Passwords can be insecure for several reasons. Many people use simple and easily guessable passwords like "123456" or "password," which are easy for hackers to crack. Additionally, some people reuse passwords across multiple accounts, making it easier for attackers to gain access to multiple services if one password is compromised. Moreover, passwords may be susceptible to various hacking techniques, such as brute-force attacks or phishing.
What Passwords Do Hackers Use?
Hackers often use various methods to guess passwords. They might use common passwords like "qwerty" or "admin," or they can employ software that systematically tries thousands of different combinations until they find the right one. Additionally, hackers take advantage of password reuse, where individuals use the same password across multiple accounts. When a data breach occurs and passwords are exposed, cybercriminals can use these stolen passwords to gain unauthorised access to other accounts belonging to the same users. Moreover, hackers may also use personal information like your name, birthdate, or pet's name to guess weak passwords, exploiting the use of easily discoverable details. As such, it is crucial to use strong and unique passwords for each online account to minimise the risk of being compromised.
What Passwords Should I Change When Hacked?
If you suspect that one of your accounts has been hacked or compromised, you should immediately change the password for that specific account. Additionally, if you have used the same password on other accounts, it's crucial to change those passwords as well to prevent further unauthorised access.
How Can I Create a Secure Password?
To create a secure password, follow these tips:
Make it long: Use at least 12 characters or more.
Mix it up: Include a combination of uppercase letters, lowercase letters, numbers, and special characters.
Avoid common words: Don't use easily guessable words or phrases.
Three random words: The NCSC current advice is to use three random words or a passphrase.
Be unique: Use different passwords for different accounts.
Steer clear of personal information: Don't use names, birthdays, or other easily discoverable details.
What is a Password Manager?
A password manager is a secure digital tool that helps you generate, store, and manage your passwords. It stores all your passwords in an encrypted vault, accessible through a master password only you know. With a password manager, you only need to remember one strong password while the manager takes care of creating and autofilling unique, complex passwords for all your online accounts. This makes it easier to maintain strong security practices without the hassle of remembering multiple passwords.
Can Passwords Contain Spaces?
Yes, passwords can contain spaces. In many cases, adding spaces can actually make passwords more secure by increasing their length and complexity. However, not all online platforms or services allow spaces in passwords, so it's essential to check the specific requirements of the account you're creating.