Convenience vs Safety: Does your password rank on our most common list?
A strong password is considered an essential aspect of our online security, but we often overlook it because strong passwords are not that easy to remember. A strong password should have at least 12 characters and include numbers, symbols, uppercase & lowercase characters, and more.
Not only that, but you also should not re-use your passwords across several sites. It is even recommended to have separate passwords for separate websites. This way, if your one account gets compromised, it will not affect other ones. But doing so is not convenient.
Unfortunately, we live in a world where convenience has taken over everything else. We have apps for the most basic stuff, such as food delivery. All you have to do is make a few clicks, and the food will be delivered to your doorstep.
Even though these technological advancements are making our life easier and more comfortable, it is also making us lazy. We have to draw a line between convenience and security. I believe that your security should be your topmost priority.
But cannot we have both? Let’s find out.
Convenience vs Safety
Cannot we have both? It is a question that is very difficult to answer.
You can surely make a balance between convenience and security, but you have to make one thing your priority. If you are choosing convenience, you are surely compromising safety and vice versa. I recommend you make safety your priority and then put convenience into the game.
For example, let’s take digital transactions and online banking into consideration. These things are making our life much easier and more comfortable. You can manage your finances, pay your bills, transact money, check your account balance, and do many other things with just a tap of your fingers.
Obviously, these applications and banking portals use SSL security and other security measures to keep your transactions safe and secure. But what about digital frauds? Digital frauds are at their all-time high. What if you are using a public network to make a transaction? Cyber criminals usually target public Wi-Fi, and therefore, it is important to use good internet connections and reliable VPN software to minimize the risk.
On the other hand, things that make our digital life secure are less convenient—for example, using two-factor or multiple layers of authentication, having good passwords practices, or more. These things definitely ensure a higher level of security but require you to put in the extra effort.
I believe that security should be the topmost priority of every individual. That being said, I also recognize that these technological advancements actually help in a lot of ways, especially by saving time and making things easier. So, instead of completely neglecting security and convenience, I suggest you make a balance between them.
How to balance:
Making a balance between security and convenience is the key, but it is not that easy. One of these should not be completely sacrificed for the other one. You can start by taking small steps.
The very first one is nothing but strengthening your password. You can do that by following these simple steps –
- Make sure your password contains at least 12The more characters it will have, the more difficult it will be to crack the password.
- You should include uppercase & lowercase letters, symbols, and numbers in your password. Having a mix-up of numbers, symbols, and letters can make your password difficult to crack using brute-force attacks.
- Some websites don’t allow you to use all types of symbols, but if it does, you can add emoticons to your password. This will not only make the password easy to remember for you but will also make it difficult to crack or guess by attackers.
- Make sure that your password is unique for each website and application. Don’t reuse passwords because if the database of one website gets compromised, the attackers will have access to all your accounts.
- Avoid using personal information that is easy to guess or publically accessible. Things such as your birth date, name, car’s name, phone number, address, or something else can be easily guessed by the attacker.
- Avoid using dictionary words or phrases and if you are doing, make sure to tweak it. For example, passwords such as “black dog” or “be a monster” are considered dictionary words because they can be cracked using a brute-force dictionary attack. If you want to use any such phrase, you can add common substitutions such as “Bl4ck D4Wg” or “B3 a M0nsT3r” and tweak them.
You can follow these tips to create a super-strong password, but the biggest problem is not to create a strong password. Instead, the biggest problem is remembering those passwords.
For this, you can use bizarre passphrases with symbols and letters. For example, 15 chickens were walking on the road in Paris. Further, you can use common substitutions for words, such as replacing a with 4, o with 0, e with 3, and so on. Doing this will not only make the password strong but will also make it easier to remember.
I can understand that even after using this passphrase technique, it will be difficult to remember all your passwords. Initially, I recommend you give it a try, but if it is getting too difficult, you can use password managers.
What is a Password Manager?
Password managers are a sort of application that helps you generate and store strong passwords for different websites. One good thing about password managers is that it completely eliminates the task of remembering your password. You don’t even need to follow the above-mentioned guidelines to create a super-strong password.
Password managers often store your passwords to encrypted cloud servers, meaning you can use your passwords across all your devices without even memorizing them. All you need to remember is your master password to log into your password manager.
However, there are some risks associated with these password managers. One of them is that you are storing all your sensitive data in one place. So, in case your master password gets compromised by hackers, they will have access to all your account details.
But other than that, most password managers boast AES-256-bit encryption with zero-knowledge policies that ensure that you can only access all your data. So overall, if you want to make a balance between convenience and safety, password managers can be a good choice.
However, these password managers will only help you remember all your passwords and create strong passwords, but there is one better way to enhance your account security to some extent. It is a two-factor or multi-factor authentication.
The problem here is that not every website or social media application offers multi-factor authentications, and you cannot do anything with that. You can only enable multi-factor authentication on services that offer you this functionality.
The good thing is most modern-day websites, and applications are adopting multi-factor authentication techniques to enhance the privacy and security of their users.
Does your password rank on our most common list?
For the majority of people, the answer to this question is No.
A 2019 study conducted by Google found that over 75% of Americans are frustrated with passwords. They find it very difficult to remember their passwords. In the end, they end up using an extremely easy-to-guess password.
According to this same study, over 59% of users use their name, birth date, mobile number, and other personal details as their passwords. I recommend you go through the full infographic to have a better understanding.