A few days ago, it was reported that Justin Bieber’s laptop was stolen from backstage during a show in Tacoma, Washington. What we don’t know is if Bieber’s laptop was properly secured with a complex password. Many people are, unfortunately, quite lax when it comes to protecting their laptops, smartphones and other mobile devices with up to date security software, encryption programs and, the most basic of all protections, a good password. If Bieber falls into this group, he could lose more than just a computer. Like many people, Bieber may keep important records on his laptop and use it also for financial transactions which could put Bieber in serious jeopardy if he either did not have a password to protect his computer or used an easy to predict password.
Scammers and identity thieves can easily predict the most commonly used passwords among which are 123456, password, iloveyou, and abc123. They can also easily predict passwords from adjacent keys on your keyboard, such as asdfgh. If that doesn’t make sense to you, look down at your keyboard. Additionally it is easy to predict names and words found in the dictionary. Scammers also have computer programs that can rapidly try many passwords to crack even the more complex passwords. In order to protect yourself with a password that is unlikely to be able to be predicted or discerned by a scammer or identity thief, you should consider having a password of at least twelve characters, have at least one letter be a capital letter and at least one letter be in lower case. Also use at least one digit in your password and one symbol. Remember a key to protection is length, so, for instance a good password would be Ytefas1st!!!. This odd arrangement is made up of the word “safety” spelled backwards and starting with a capital letter and then having the rest of the letters in lower case. Then the password has “1st” as in “first,” but with a digit and ends with three explanation points which makes this easy to remember and hard to break.