Managing your passwords

Bob Milliken
Bob Milliken
Bob Milliken

If you are in the habit of using passwords like ‘password’, ‘qwerty’ or ‘123456’, you may be helping hackers and online thieves steal your data. If you think using ‘password’ as your password is no big deal, then it’s time to rethink.

Security experts have recently compiled a list of the worst passwords users can choose, and ‘password’ is at the very top of the list. Weak passwords make your information more vulnerable simply because hackers can guess them. It may be easier to pick a password that you don’t have to think about, but it’s a choice that you may come to regret. To help you avoid common password choice mistakes that users make, management application provider SplashData has compiled a list of passwords that you should avoid – here are the top 5:

1. password
2. 123456
3. 12345678
4. qwerty
5. abc123

Make a smart password choice Experts advise using a combination of letters and numbers when creating your passwords, and to avoid things that anyone might be able to guess, such as birthdays and anniversary dates. Passwords with eight characters or more are safer and it’s best to use different passwords for different accounts and websites. Use a password manager to help you keep track of all of your passwords if you’re finding it difficult to remember them all.

This all sounds great but if you are like me, I have a memory that is both short and full of holes, and I have hundreds of passwords that I deal with on a daily basis. The trick is to make strong complex passwords that you will have no trouble remembering.

And here is how you can do it. Stop using passwords and begin using pass phrases instead – for example, “mypasswordformybankaccountis2254”. Yikes! How does that make it easy? Simple – this pass phrase becomes “mpfmbai2254” (the 1st letter of each word in the pass phrase) that can be used as a password and will be EASY to remember.

No matter how sophisticated your security system is, a weak password gives hackers and online thieves an advantage. Helping all the users in your organization understand the importance of password strength will help you secure the IT systems in your organization.

Bob Milliken is the president of Cascadia Systems Group.Connect with Bob at, or give us a call – 604.270.1730.Your comments are appreciated –