In today’s digital world, you need a good password. It’s the first line of defense against a myriad of cyber threats, from identity theft to unauthorized access to sensitive information. The internet is littered with articles telling you the best techniques on how to pick the best passwords and how to construct a better combination to thwart every hacker. This post isn’t that. Instead, we’re focusing on how to make passwords better for you, the person who has to use them everyday!

Note: originally this post was written as an April Fools joke. It’s since been updated further with more information on why these password “tips” are a bad idea.

Embrace simplicity

Why make it more complex than you need to? Think “123456” or “qwerty”. These timeless patterns are easy for you to remember and therefore a great password option. In a world where complexity is prized, there’s a certain charm in choosing passwords that aren’t. Plus, what could be faster than a quick tap-tap-tap on the keyboard’s top row?

Why it’s a terrible idea: These passwords are the low-hanging fruit for any cybercriminal, making your accounts as secure as a diary with a “Keep Out” sticker.

What to do instead: Opt for complexity. A good password should be a mix of letters (both uppercase and lowercase), numbers, and symbols, with at least 12 characters to make it robust against attacks.

Get personal

Using personal information like your name, birthday, or even your pet’s name is an optimal choice. How likely are you going to forget your birthday? Or the name of your pet or child? Choosing a password that’s close to your heart is like a tribute to simpler times. Why stress over a complicated password when your favourite colour is at the tip of your tongue?

Why it’s a terrible idea: Personal information is often publicly available. Using anything that can be easily found on your social media profiles (or guessed by someone who knows you), makes such passwords barely a hurdle for someone determined to gain access.

What to do instead: Keep it impersonal. Good passwords have nothing to do with your personal information. They should be random and unrelated to your life details that can be easily found online.

Go for the obvious choices

“Password”, “letmein”, or “admin” – these are the golden trio of password options. Enjoy the straightforwardness and convenience of these obvious choices. Using these words as a password is a statement. A choice that stares danger in the face and a confidence in the basic goodness of humanity… or perhaps just a fantastic way to ensure you never forget how to log in.

Why it’s a terrible idea: These are among some of the most common passwords used (despite so many articles warning you to not use these) and will be one of the first that hacks will try.

What to do instead: Be unpredictable. Your passwords should be surprising, a random assortment of characters that have no obvious connection to each other or to you.

Stick with a favourite

Found a password you love? Great! Use it everywhere and you’ll never forget it. Your password is your steadfast companion through thick and thin. Like an old friend, it never changes, creating a sense of trust and familiarity every time you log in. Think of the time you’ll save not having to click on “Forgot Password?” links. That’s efficiency at its finest!

Why it’s a terrible idea: Using the same password for every single account is a surefire way to amplify your digital vulnerability. If one account gets compromised, congratulations, you’ve just handed the keys to your entire online world to the attackers.

What to do instead: Diversify. Each account should have its unique password. It might seem daunting to remember them all, but that’s where a reliable password manager comes into play.

Selecting a password that’s both secure and user-friendly might seem like a balancing act, but it’s easier than you think. The key is to create something that you can remember

What technique will you choose to help you pick a better password?

April Fools’!

Before anyone gets too alarmed, let’s clarify: this guide on choosing the worst passwords is a playful jest for April Fools’ Day. We strongly advocate for robust cybersecurity practices and highly discourage the use of weak passwords. In the spirit of good fun and education, here are some real tips to ensure your digital security remains ironclad:

Complexity is key: Mix letters, numbers, and symbols to create a password that’s hard for others to guess but easy for you to remember. Think of using the first letter of each word in a sentence, along with some numbers and symbols.

Length matters: Aim for passwords that are at least 12 characters long. Longer passwords are harder for hackers to crack.

Unpredictability: Avoid using easily available information such as your name, birthdate, or common words. The more random, the better.

Unique passwords for different accounts: Using the same password across multiple sites is like having one key for everything. If it gets stolen, everything is at risk. Keep it diverse. Use a password manager to help you keep all the passwords straight.

Update regularly: Change your passwords periodically, especially for sensitive accounts like email and banking.

So, while we hope you enjoyed the chuckle, let’s use this moment to reaffirm our commitment to strong, secure passwords and safe digital habits. After all, in the vast and often unpredictable realm of the internet, a good laugh and a strong password are equally invaluable. Stay safe and secure, and remember: the best joke is a secure digital life!