Password mistakes

5 Common Misconceptions about Passwords Debunked

Passwords are the most common type of user authentication. Most people have used a password at some point in their lives. If you don’t want intruders and snoopers to access something that you consider private and confidential, you protect it with a password. The internet made the use of passwords even more common. Today, the average person has at least seven online accounts. You need a password to be able to access each of your accounts.

Due to a rise in the number of information breaches resulting from hacked passwords, internet users are desperate to learn how they can create a strong password that cannot be hacked. As you can tell with just a simple Google search, there’s a lot of advice pertaining to passwords online. The problem is that most of the password advice you’ll find online is misinformed. In this article, we will be debunking some of the most common misconceptions about passwords. Read on to learn more.

Passwords Are Insecure

This is one of the most popular password misconceptions making rounds on the internet. While they may not be as secure as we would like them to be, passwords are quite secure compared to alternatives such as biometrics, government ID, or telephone numbers. As a form of authentication, passwords are hard to beat, especially when paired with two-factor authentication. A good password is strong, unique, and is transmitted over a secure channel.

Passwords Are Outdated

Another common password misconception on the internet is that passwords are an outdated form of authentication and are on their way out. While there is no denying that there have been efforts to replace passwords with a more secure authentication method, we’re still a long way from a solution. Potential replacements include biometrics and asymmetric cryptographic keys. The former includes fingerprints and facial recognition which may be useful in identifying people but are extremely lacking in security. The latter has been found to be highly susceptible to phishing and man-in-the-middle attacks.

Passwords Should Be Memorable

Passwords are not supposed to be memorable. Commonly used ones such as variations of ‘password’ are ‘memorable’, but also among the weakest. So how do you manage the range of unique passwords you’re supposed to have? You don’t need to have all the passwords to your online accounts off the top of your head. There are apps you can use for that. Password managers are applications that you can use to generate and store strong secure passwords and not have to worry about having to remember them. These applications make your life safer and more convenient. When you use a password manager, the only passwords you have to remember is the one you use to log into your computer and the one you use to log into the password manager.

Some Characters Can’t be Used to Create a Password

Some websites and online services restrict passwords. This means that there are characters that you are not allowed to use when creating a password for the website. Banks, government departments, and other institutions are known to restrict passwords. This has led some people to believe that certain characters can’t be used in a password, which can’t be further from the truth. A password can include literally anything. Any character that can be typed can be used in a password. If anything, using characters in non-English languages is preferable as it makes a brute force attack a lot harder, which gives a more secure password.

Passwords Have a Maximum Length

Some people believe that there is a maximum length for a password, which isn’t true at all. Your password can be as long as you need it to be. The security of your password increases exponentially as the length of the password increases. Therefore, longer passwords tend to be more secure. However, unless you are encrypting highly sensitive data such as your Bitcoin wallet or other sensitive files, 17 characters are generally more than enough.

The internet is rife with all types of threats. There are hackers and other online threat actors looking to steal your data. However, you don’t have to worry or browse in fear of an attack. If you exercise caution by keeping your computer up to date and utilizing useful security tools such password manager, you can easily mitigate the risk of someone hacking your account.

Posted in How-to, Technology Blog, Tutorials.

Patrick O'Keeffe

Patrick is the founder, developer and chief blogger of Victoria Web Solutions. Passionate about technology, design and customer satisfaction. Read more about Patrick on his Team page.

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