Passwords are a necessary evil. They're a pain to create and a struggle to remember - as this comedian hilariously explains. But if you decide to take shortcuts, you make a hacker's job much, much easier.
Fortunately, I know a few tricks to make the whole thing simpler. Before I get to that, though, it's good to refresh your memory on a few ground rules for creating strong passwords.
Just for giggles, we figured out how many articles we have written about passwords that are posted on my site. It's an astonishing common and very important topic with over 540 different articles about passwords, how to make good ones, remembering passwords, password managers and more.
But, we'll start with the most basic rule:
Don't make the password easy to guess
Whenever there's a big data breach and user passwords are exposed, security companies always make a list of the most common passwords people were using. In fact, they made one for the Adobe data breach that happened at the end of 2013.
The five most common passwords were "123456," "123456789," "password," "adobe123," and "12345678." You can read the full list here.
But that's not the only thing to watch out for. Hackers have computers that can "guess" for them. And chances are good that even security-conscious folks might make a common mistake in creating their password.
Jeff Fox is the Former Technology Editor for Consumer Reports. He wrote about passwords recently in a Huffington Post story. He tested web sites that will test the strength of your passwords. He found of the four, only Kaspersky's as he said, "clearly informed me that the apparently strong password I submitted was actually far weaker than it appeared. " Mr. Fox added that, "Even Gmail's own password strength tester labeled that password as strong." Clearly, you cannot trust the online checkers.