Last week our company’s IT group informed employees and contractors that we needed to create new passwords. Why? Because there was a security breach traced back to a simple password stored on a Post-it Note attached to a PC screen.
Unfortunately, I was as guilty because my passwords– at the office and at home on personal accounts– also use equally thin and simplistic passwords, so I decided to make the change to something more secure. How can you create a stronger password?
Don’t Use 1-2-3-4-5-6
I scoured the Mac web and came up with at least two dozen Mac utilities which claim to create stronger passwords, each one with controls to adjust the alpha-numeric mix this way or that way, but all designed with a single purpose. Better, more secure passwords.
Password generators don’t cost much, many are free, and there are plenty of online password generator websites that do much the same thing as a standalone app. In a hurry, I tried the simple Password Creator. It cost a few bucks. It works well.
It can’t get much easier. Select the Type of password from the pull down men. Use the left-or-right Slider bar to adjust the password length. Then click New Password to get either a single password based on your criteria selection, or multiple passwords.
In some IT environments the department controls the passwords. I don’t consider that an optimum or secure method but it’s in use.
Lest you think that’s all the bells and whistles you can buy for a few dollars, look again. Need hundreds or a few thousand passwords? Click, click, done. Need to export a list of passwords? Again. Click, click.
The built-in disambiguator avoids use of customized characters so some passwords will not be too similar to others (there’s also a built-in option to avoid using the same password as a duplicate; ever). All the basic password options are built-in except a favorite– pronounceable passwords. I like those. The IT department doesn’t, but then again I’m not competing against 1-2-3-4-5-6, either.
Here’s a list of the Top 100 Most Common Passwords. #1 is p-a-s-s-w-o-r-d. #2 is 1-2-3-4-5-6. You get the idea. The list is similar to the Top 25 Most Common Passwords of 2015, which is remarkably similar to the Top 25 Most Common Passwords of 2014. Apparently, we like simple passwords.
You may think your password is secure, but compare it to what can be generated by a true password creator app.