Fraud Friday: A guide to crafting strong passwords

Dec 15, 2023 | General News

We’re in an increasingly digital age, and alongside technology’s convenience comes the rising threat of cyber hazards. With hackers constantly on the prowl, creating a strong password is your first line of defense. That’s why this Fraud Friday, we made a guide to aid GCSB members in devising robust passwords that will help keep your personal and company accounts safe.

Strong passwords matter.

Have you ever heard the term “brute force attack”? In these types of attacks, hackers use computer programs trying out various combinations of letters, numbers and symbols in search of the right password. They can try multiple passwords in split seconds and are much more likely to guess correctly if the passwords are short and only consist of letters and numbers. The longer and more complex the password, the more exponentially difficult cracking it becomes. A five-letter password with no characters can take minutes to guess, whereas a twelve-letter password with numbers, letters and characters can take years.

Now, let’s make a protective password

  1. Aim for a password that’s at least 12 characters long. Longer passwords are generally harder to crack.
  1. Avoid predictable words and phrases like your name, birthdate, or common passwords such as “password123.” Never use “password” or “admin” in a password.
  1. Don’t be afraid to mix it up. In fact, do exactly that! Combine uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers, and special characters to increase the complexity of your passwords. For example, instead of “football,” you could do “F00tB@ll!”
  1. Use a different password for each account. Hackers who obtain one password could access multiple accounts if you reuse them.
  1. Refrain from using easily-obtainable information like your phone number, address, pet names or family members’ names in your passwords.
  1. Randomness is key! Generate random sequences of characters that don’t follow common patterns. You can use a password generator to help with this.
  1. One great way to create a seemingly random, hard-to-guess password is using a passphrase. By combining random words, you make it easy to remember but difficult to crack. For example, “Green Bay won the first Super Bowl 35-10” becomes “GBw1stSB3510.”
  1. Use the whole keyboard! A common password is “qwert” because it’s easy to type as all the letters are next to each other on the keyboard. Don’t use 1234— use the whole keyboard. If it’s easy for you to type, it’s easier for a cybercriminal to guess.

Your financial safety is our priority, so thanks for coming to another installment of Fraud Friday. Remember, a strong password changed regularly is one great way to shield yourself against cyberattacks.