Computer Security Day falls on November 30th of each year, namely, tomorrow. There are many things you can do to ensure that your laptop and desktop computers remain safe, ranging from running antivirus software and changing passwords to making sure liquids are not near your computer or electrical outlets.
Of course, some of them enhance your computer security in greater ways than others. Changing your passwords happens to be one of them. About two-thirds of people never change their passwords, and they are setting themselves up for a potential data breach, especially if their passwords are really short. The reasoning lies in very simple math.
Assuming that the password in question is ****, meaning that four characters constitute the password, how hard is it to crack it? Well, if characters are not case-sensitive (i.e., “A” is the same as “a”), and special characters such as #$%^& are not used, there’s 34 total options (24 from the English alphabet and 10 from the numbers 0 through 9) for each placeholder. So, to exhaust all possible combinations—starting from aaaa, aaab, aaac, and so on and so forth—the number of tries would be 1,336,336. That’s a lot of tries, and in the day and age of Charles Babbage it might have been a deterrent, but to a modern computer it would take the blink of an eye. Now, if the password was only one character long, all possible “combinations” would be exhausted in 34 tries, which is next to nothing.
So, the longer the password, the better the chances of you being protected. However, hackers also know that nobody wants to use something like “qzudsnasj234jans,” since it would be impossible to remember as a password. Most people go for words or short sentences such as “god” or “iamgod” or “iamgodsgifttowomankind.” That last one is long, and I’ll say again that longer passwords are generally better because it takes longer to crack it. HOWEVER, simple words and sentences are discouraged as well because hackers also run programs trying all the words found in the English dictionary. So if one uses the word “supercalifragilisticexpialidocious” as a password, it will be sooner than later that your data will be breached. When you consider that the English language has approximately 988,000 words of varying lengths (per the Global Language Monitor—nobody really knows for sure), a longer, simple word found in a dictionary is no more secure than a random 4-letter password, with a count of 1,336,336, as pointed out above.
So, passwords ought to be a combination of letters and numbers. If you’re bilingual, you can use different combinations such as a long English word followed by numbers, followed by a word in a second language.
For encryption services such as AlertBoot, the password is the key to unlocking the contents of your digital devices. As such, passwords ought to be as secure as possible and changed regularly. You can also set up conditions for your passwords, such as whether palindromes can be used; whether anagrams of the username is allowed; if already used passwords can be reused; how often passwords ought to be changed; etc.