You know what we humans are really bad at? Coming up with strong, unique passwords. We know this because every time some research firm publishes a list of the most widely used passwords, “password” and “123456” are at or near the top of the list. GHacks.net has put together a list of critical mistakes that people make when they’re coming up with passwords and, taken as a whole, they show how hard it is to make multiple secure passwords that you can actually remember.

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Here are some basic tips:

  • Don’t make passwords that contain letters that are in sequence on your keyboard. This means passwords like “qwerty” are a definite no-no.
  • Don’t think you can substitute numbers and special characters in commonly used passwords and think you’re safe. A lot of hackers know to try things like “pa$$w0rd” in brute force attacks.
  • Always change the default password on your devices, even if they’re complex passwords. These default passwords are public knowledge.
  • Use special characters in general, not just as replacements for letters.
  • Don’t use passwords that can be linked directly to you such as your favorite sports team or the name of your cat.

But there’s a catch here. GHacks lists some of the following as good examples of secure passwords: “GNLxypVVoCZDfAvSpiZZuluFySJUCuXe,” “GVdEwjaTc5N9c1z7khbpSl097xMMcwo3,” and “ZoXhEi”C6G”Op6s_oMxHhrf`t/+6-3UU.”

These passwords are indeed very secure but they also are impossible for you to remember. Obviously, you can have apps like LastPass generate complex passwords on your behalf that you can use, but this does little good in situations where using these password storage apps isn’t an option.

In the end, we’re going to have to find something besides passwords to keep our data secure online. Whether it’s biometrics or something else, I just don’t see these kinds of passwords as the future of online security.

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