Password Hygiene

Can you guess the most common passwords of 2021?  Believe it or not, the list includes 123456789, picture1, password, and my favourite 11111111.  Now granted, most business systems will not allow you to use these overly simple combinations.  But the reality is that people are using them where possible.

IT has nagged you endlessly about having complex passwords, changing the passwords on a regular basis, and not reusing passwords.  Since passwords are like the ‘keys to the front door’ of your information, it is important that some effort is made.

Most cybersecurity experts are now promoting length over complexity.  The problem with complex passwords (uppercase, lowercase, numeric and special characters) is that they are hard to remember and people end up writing them down on sticky notes (a definite no no).

The use of passphrases removes the complexity and increases the password length.  A passphrase consists of multiple words which have no connection.  For example, greenlogicpotatoes.  These 3 words would never be used in a sentence, should be somewhat easy to remember, and is 18 characters long.  This passphrase would take 23 million years to crack.  Add uppercase characters – GreenLogicPotatoes and it would take 6 trillion years to crack.  Add brackets and it will take 2 quintillion years to crack.  You get the idea.


However, having multiple unique passphrases may still be difficult to remember.  Once again, we strongly recommend not to re-use passwords.  This is where a password manager can help.  A password manager (such as LastPass, DashLane, and 1Password) is essentially an application that stores and protects your list of credentials.  They can be installed on PCS, tablets, and smartphones (some of them sync the credentials between your devices) and automatically enter login information for websites that are recognized.  You are only required to know the ‘master password’, the password manager manages the rest.  Of course, it is vital that the master password is very secure.

Password hygiene is the practice of ensuring passwords are unique, difficult to guess, and hard to crack.  Developing sound practices at work and in your personal life will dramatically reduce your risk of falling victim to hackers.

If you have any questions or need some help improving your cybersecurity, please contact me at

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From the WELL Cybersecurity Division
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