Geeks2U Promise
We guarantee you'll love our fast, friendly service - or we'll refund your money.  
133,572 Happy Customers & Counting
Need tech support?
1300 769 448
Extended hours, 7 days a week
Home  /  geekspeak  /  Weak passwords are your weakest security link

Weak passwords are your weakest security link

In the aftermath of Heartbleed, don’t simply change all your passwords from “password” to “password1”.

Choosing easy-to-guess passwords is pretty much the biggest security blunder you can make, but people keep doing it. Every time hackers release a fresh batch of stolen passwords, the most common passwords tend to be “12345678”, “QWERTY”, “letmein” or the ever-popular “password”.

If these sound like your passwords then you’re asking for trouble. They’re the first passwords hackers try when they’re out to break into your account. The next thing they do is cycle through the dictionary, so you should never use a single word as your password, however obscure. Hackers are also awake to tricks like substituting numbers for letters, such as “p4ssw0rd”. You’ll need to do better than that.

Don’t use the names of your kids or your pets either, as such things are easily discovered online. Birthdays, sports teams and nicknames are also terrible choices for passwords, however easy they are to remember. After Heartbleed, which let hackers steal passwords from supposedly secure websites, you have to wonder how many foolish people will be forced to rename their cat “Fluffy1” just so they can remember their new favourite password.

Coming up with good passwords is tough, especially when you’re not supposed to use the same password more than once. If you have reused passwords then Heartbleed becomes an even bigger threat. Reusing passwords means you don’t just have to change your passwords on every website which was vulnerable to Heartbleed, such as Google, Facebook, Yahoo! and Dropbox. You also need to change your password on any other website where you’ve reused one of those passwords.

For example, Google was affected by Heartbleed but Apple’s iTunes wasn’t. If Heartbleed hackers get their hands on your Google password then they might try using your Gmail address and password to log into iTunes. While they’re at it they’ll try Facebook, Twitter, PayPal, Skype and lots of other services. Would they have any luck if they tried this trick on you? If so, Heartbleed presents a good opportunity to rethink your haphazard approach to choosing passwords.

The best passwords look like gibberish to anyone else but are easy for you to remember. Phrases or lyrics make a good starting point. For example, consider the first lines of Three Blind Mice. Use the first letter from each word and throw in upper and lower case letters along with numbers and punctuation. You might end up with something like; TbMtBM*ShTr*65 – a strong password which is easy for you to remember but hard for anyone else to guess, or a computer to crack.

Different combinations help you come up with a range of passwords for different websites, but keep in mind that any of your passwords could fall into the wrong hands one day. If your Google password is “TbMtBM-Google” then hackers won’t have too much trouble guessing your iTunes, Facebook and Skype passwords. You need to be smarter than that.

Don’t be lazy when it comes to your online security. If it’s all too hard, take a look at a password manager like LastPass or 1Password which can create strong passwords and remember them for you. Developing your own secure password strategy takes a little time and effort, but much less time and effort than it takes to pick up the pieces after hackers take control of your digital life.


Recent News

The battle between search giant Google and proposed media legislation that would require it to pay major news organisations for linked content – which I’ve discussed previously – heated up recently, with Google stating that it would pull its search services from Australia if the rules as proposed become actual law. There are arguments for

We’ve ALL been there. You’re working away on that big monthly report for work and all of a sudden you start to hear what sounds like a fan going into overdrive. Panicked, you pick up your laptop and it’s super hot to the touch! Your computer starts working slower than usual and you even get

Every year since 1967, the US Consumer Electronics Show, or CES for short shows off the latest in technological innovations and products that manufacturers are hoping to bring to market. Back in 1967, that would have encompassed a lot of radio and TV products. You don’t so much see radio as a key part of

As I’m writing this, the Consumer Electronics Show that would usually take place in Las Vegas is instead being staged entirely online, due to the ongoing pandemic issues. CES has for the longest time been the place where big consumer electronics companies show off their latest TV innovations, and while it’s not debuting this year,

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Update

Learn about the precautions we are taking and our new contactless pick-up and remote service options. Read More
Get help setting up your home office or homework area today. Learn More