I have been teaching adults how to use computers for over 15 years now. My favourite class to teach is for seniors who just need a little help getting past some of the concepts of using a computer. Some love using computers to do creative projects or make their business life just a little bit easier. Then there are others who start the class VERY frustrated because they HATE computers, but feel like they have to use them to get along in the modern world. Usually, because they hate passwords. (Does anyone really like passwords… it’s just the Seniors who are vocal about it ) This blog post is going to explain why Passwords are important for someone who is learning how to hack computers. What kind of Passwords you should never use. Part two will be how to remember passwords.
Let’s get the frustrating bit out of the way first shall we? Don’t worry it gets better.
Let’s rip off the bandaid first thing. The computer did not get your password wrong. You did. At least once a month I have someone come in who swears the computer is getting their password wrong. I hate to tell you this, but the computer NEVER gets a password wrong. EVER! it is the equivalent of saying forgetting how to breathe. It is what computers do best. If you are getting an “Access denied” or “Incorrect Password” it is always because you either typed it wrong or are using the wrong password or username. Even the basic password programs ALWAYS get it correct. (Yes it is possible to have a broken keyboard but that is a whole different blog post). Later in this post will show you ways to get past this …. don’t worry it gets better
Why are passwords important?
Passwords are just like the keys to your house or car. If we did not have locks on your door or car then anyone who walked up could just drive away or come in an take all your stuff. Passwords as so important there are entire classes for hackers (Both Good hackers and bad hackers ) to try to get past them. If I have your password to your computer or email it is just a matter of time before I would have access to your Bank accounts etc.
Your password is your first and best defense to being hacked.
I just started to take “Hacking classes”. Think of it as being a Digital locksmith. I personally have no plans of wearing a hoodie in a dark room breaking into people’s computers. However just like a locksmith. You need to be able to pick a lock before you can make a better one. My first class was how to find aways around a password, and I tell you it’s not easy if someone has a good password.
Think about this. Those scams from people who say they are from Telstra, or Those emails saying there is a problem with your bank account are all about trying to get past your passwords. If you have a good password this makes the hacker’s job much harder. If you have different passwords for everything this makes the hacker’s job so hard they are going to find someone else to bother. (Hackers are busy people… they do not have time for this)
People hate passwords
I hate passwords! My wife hates passwords, My Daughter hates passwords! seniors hate passwords. And this is why hackers are hoping! Hacking is really 60% tech and 40% psychology! (some may argue that its 50/50 ) Hackers know you hate passwords and will use that to get to your bank account!
What is a bad password?
A bad password is anything that can be found in a list. Any list in any dictionary in any language. IF you are using anything in the list below I have software that can crack your password in minutes. (Some of the expert hackers would take them seconds)
- Pet names
- City names
- Dates (From any time in history Past or Future)
- Peoples names (In any language)
- Words found in English, Greek , Japanese, Spanish and 100 other dictionaries)
- Bible Verses
- Movie names
- Mythical creatures
- Sports teams
I will also give you a hint. Adding a “!” or a “1” is not going to help. You really need to get a strong password.
What does a good password look like?
A good password looks something like this “bpv!gvek&U” I actually picked up my cat and put her on the keyboard. (Now she is mad at me). This kind of password is not going to be found on any list. This means that the software hackers use to discover your passwords (at least the novice ones like me) are not going to work. They will have to find another way.
But I forget my password
Part two of this will talk about how to remember your passwords… And trust me. As someone who suffers from ADHD and Dyslexia, I forget passwords more often than you do. I have just fond ways around it.