Every day for almost two months now I’ve been getting phishing email from my dad. My own dad! The first email was a little suspicious—it had no subject and no text in the body, just a link to what I found out later was a phishing site that immediately lifted my Gmail password and locked my out of my account for a few days. I had to contact Google and go through a very long, very unpleasant process to reset my e-mail account, and needless to say, I needed to change my password.
I went through several combinations of my old password before I realized that what I was doing would only lead to another security breach, possibly with worse consequences. Reading Google’s suggestion finally sank in and I made a complex password that didn’t make any sense to me.
Image credits to Sync-blog.com
Passwords are not just an arbitrary requirement that account managers want to inconvenience you with. They protect you from internet fraud, hackers, and identity theft, among other things. And as the internet becomes more sophisticated and more widely available to everyone, hackers and other attackers get more sophisticated.
You’ve probably seen password recommendations before: sites require numbers, letters and special characters, usually between 6 and 16 characters total. What follows is a scale that shows the strength of a password, and compares that strength to a superhero. It took being hacked for me to change my password; maybe it will only take this superhero analogy to get you to change yours.
Weak (Civilian: Human, no powers, prone to death)
Medium (Batman: Human, cool gadgets, genius)
Strong (Superman: Alien, invincible, laser-vision)
At first you might think that you’ll never be able to remember these passwords, but I’ve found that once you enter them 10 times or so, you’ll never forget it, and will be just as easy to recall this ultra-strong password as it was to remember that password that had your name and birthday in it. By the way, my dad never changed his password. His email is still hacked.