Woman's hands at a laptop typing in a password

Think Your Password Is Safe? Think Again, Study Finds It's Probably Not

Have you changed your passwords recently? Chances are you aren’t alone. It may be inconvenient, but recent studies reflect that this regular practice is necessary to keep you and your accounts safe. Thousands of passwords get hacked each day, making your personal information vulnerable to exploitation. If you are one of the millions who use “password” or “123456” as a password (the most common passwords in 2020 and 2021), it’s time to make a change.

There are many ways to make your passwords more secure. Simple techniques like “leet speak” (mixed-character passwords) can make your passwords stronger, but they are still breachable using password-cracking software. The Department Chair of our Cybersecurity division at Champlain College Online, Dr. Sergio Tenreiro de Magalhaes, suggests using sentences as passwords instead of easily-guessable options such as birthdays or pet names. Additional punctuation at the end of a memorable sentence increases length and complexity.

We have to develop new passwords every day - when signing up for a streaming service, setting up a utility account, or subscribing to a favorite online magazine. Many companies require employees to update their passwords on a regular basis. We know never to reuse passwords, but coming up with new, unique passwords can be challenging.

Here are a few quick tricks to create secure passwords that keep your information safe:

  • Use a long, random string of characters
  • Use a memorable sentence with punctuation at the end
  • Use a password manager

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Champlain College Online

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