I am constantly warning people to use complex, distinct passwords for all of their online accounts in order to prevent the passwords from being stolen and deciphered when encrypted. The easiest passwords for an identity thief to decipher are those that use any word in the English language or passwords less than twelve characters. A complex password should also mix small letter, capital letters, figures and symbols for maximum protection. However, many people do not do this and are at great risk of identity theft because of their lack of prudence in choosing a password. These people should feel a little better about themselves, however, because a recent study by computer security company Avast found that even the hackers don’t generally use strong passwords. According to Avast only about 10% of hackers use difficult to decipher passwords, with the average hacker password only six characters long. In fact, the most popular password for hackers, was “hack.”
Just because hackers don’t take enough precautions to protect themselves does not mean that you should neglect having a strong password. You should have a separate password for all of your online accounts so if your password for one account falls into the hands of an identity thief, your entire online life is not threatened. You should also change your passwords about every six months. Creating an easy to remember, but complex password is not very difficult. Start with a phrase, such as “AVeryComplexPassword” and then add a some numbers and symbols, such as “AVeryComplexPassword1**.” You can then personalize it to a particular account by adding an abbreviation for that account at the end. For example, your password for Amazon could be “AVeryComplexPassword1**Ama.” Easy to remember and hard to break.