Have you heard about the massive LinkedIn data breach? The social media giant recently revealed that 117 million of its members' email addresses and passwords were stolen.
Worse, LinkedIn only recently confessed that the massive breach most likely occurred in 2012, when they thought just 6.5 million members' private information was exposed. That's not the most shocking part of this data breach, though.
You won't believe this. More than 64 percent of those 117 million people shared the same exact password. Can you guess what it was? "123456."
That's not nearly as uncommon as you may think. People use easy-to-guess passwords like "password" all the time. Don't make it so easy for hackers to steal your identity and your sensitive financial information.
Creating and remembering hard-to-guess passwords is a lot easier than you may think. So, let's get started with simple how-to steps to create super-secure passwords.
1. Password generator
If you're like most people, your Internet passwords are along the lines of your birthday or kids' birthdays. Or, if you get really creative in keeping hackers away from your private information, maybe it's your mother's maiden name.
Of course, you start running into all sorts of troubles when your password requires a combination of letters, numbers and symbols. These days, a lot of passwords require that you also use some upper- and lower-case letters, too.
Do you have time to create all those crazy combinations? No, no one does.
Here's a much easier solution. Try a FREE password generator like Random Password Generator. (See photos below.)
You input the type of characters and number of characters that you need and it quickly creates an extremely complicated password for you. Don't panic! You don't have to remember this super-complicated password. Random Password Generator automatically saves your passwords in its Password Manager. (Note: Be sure to put a description next to each password, so you know which online account it's for.)
2. Hard-to-guess passwords
You may have the wrong impression about hackers. If you envision a long-haired teenager in his parents' basement typing in different guesses for your passwords, that's rarely how it's done.
Instead, think about hackers the way they operate these days. There could be dozens of them sitting in an office building in Eastern Europe working 9-to-5 trying to hack into computer systems and, ultimately, take over your computer and demand ransom to give it back. Or they just flip your logins and passwords on the Black Market for a quick profit.
They have sophisticated computer systems to help them scan through hundreds or thousands of passwords in no time.
As you can imagine, these computer systems are really good at guessing passwords. Don't make it easier for them to steal your personal information.
If your password has more than eight characters in it, and you mix up letters, numbers and symbols, they may not even bother trying to guess it. They'll just move on to the millions of people using "123456" or "password."
Have you noticed a theme yet? When it comes to passwords, make it tough for hackers and organized cyber crime rings to guess yours. You may want to try a passphrase.
When it comes to super-long passwords, the good news is it could take hackers years to guess yours if it has 15 or so characters. The bad news is, a password that long is really easy to forget.
So, try a phrase you'll remember. How about, "MysonwasbornonAug12!" Who's going to guess that? You've got caps, lower-case letters, numbers and a symbol.