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Passwords and how to protect them
Passwords are the most important aspect of your account.  They are half of what determines if you log in or not (with the other half being your login name).  A good majority of the world uses weak, easy to guess passwords.  Things like password, password 123, parts of their name, their birthdate, etc - anything easy to remember.  The reason people choose easy passwords is, well, to remember them.  It sucks when you use a more complex password but can't remember what it is. However, using a complex password is what can save you in the long run.

In an effort to have easy to remember passwords, everyone will use the same password or same style password. Here's a couple common ones:
  • password
  • password123
  • bsmith
  • smith1989
  • sally1996 (child's name and birth year)
  • spike2000 (pet name and year you got him)
Those are just a few examples.  In regards to "b smith", people often use real names as passwords, such as their own name. In other cases, they use their children's name and birth year (or their own if they don't have kids).  Using personal things as a password is not a bad thing by itself.  The issue comes from either people who know you, or what you disclose online. For example, lets say you know personally has decided to try and gain access to your accounts.  If your password is your name and birth year, it's going to be a very easy guess for that person because they know your info.

The second part of that is people will reveal personal info online to others.  Every day people reveal something personal online and they are fine.  It only becomes an issue when someone wants to do harm to you.  I will have a separate topic covering this. The solution to the problem of personal info online, and what prevents said problem in the first place, is having a complex password.

"But..I can't remember complex passwords." I know, I can't either. That is why I have a safe place where I've stored all my passwords - all of them, for every site. There are a few ways you can save your passwords:
  • Password manager
  • Writing them down on a piece of paper
  • Storing them in a text document on your computer.

With password managers, there are legitimate, safe ones out there, but you have to make sure the one you want to use is legitimate. I know some people are questioning storing them in a text document. "What if your computer gets hacked by a virus?" Contrary to what some may think, your computer is safe. The virus and hacks are a result of human error, such as downloading something you shouldn't. Always be careful about what you download.

I know, it's stupid and you shouldn't have to go to such lengths to protect yourself, but you do. This is the world we live in now. Complex passwords are safe and cannot be guessed. The only way they could get into your account would be, again, if you downloaded maleware or your email address was compromised.

Next, you're probably wondering what a complex password is. For starters, complex passwords are longer. They aren't a simple 4 digit or a digit password. 8 is the sweet spot, in my opinion. Most of my passwords are at a minimum 8 characters or more. Everyone is different, but for me, all my passwords are made up on the spot. They can be lowercase, capital letters, numbers, punctuation...anything I can think of that is random. As a failsafe, I will jog down the password in a safe spot before even putting it into the website so I know what it is and won't lose it.

There are password generators that will make a password for you and offers variety in terms of how you want the password to come out. With password generating sites, it's a use at your own risk type deal. There's no way to confirm 100% that these generated passwords are not stored and can be viewed by the staff here. I can recommend this site, which also includes helpful tips for your passwords.

As an example, here is a password I generated from that site: *mLd{mZQ?en2TY83

Personally, I'd never use [ ] { or } in passwords, just because I'm a bit paranoid about it not working in the future. 😂 Other than that, the password is perfect and not something you'd guess.

Remember, the stronger your password is, the more secure your account will be.

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Passwords and how to protect them - by Reddington - 12-14-2021, 05:02 AM

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