Whether it's to check our email or for online shopping or banking, whatever we're doing, we need a password. Ideally, it should be secure and easy to remember. With all the online apps we use, though, that's easier said than done.
Nonetheless, the security loophole that is exploited most often by hackers remains poorly chosen passwords. Cyber criminals use fully automated programs, which can work out passwords that are overly simple or too short in a matter of seconds. To do this, the programs use dictionaries in all languages, as well as number combinations.
A secure password protects as effectively as good sunscreen: when set up with a certain amount of foresight, it provides you with good basic protection at minimum effort. Even more important than changing your password regularly is choosing a complex password that you can remember easily, without having to write it down. But what makes a secure password, and how can you make sure you remember it? Read on to find out what is important for this, and how you can set up your system in just a few seconds.
1. Use a minimum of ten characters
In case of a Wi-Fi router an even particularly long password should be used. We recommend a minimum of 20 characters. This will protect you against offline attacks, which are possible against routers, unlike in the case of web applications.
2. Mix upper and lower case with numbers and special characters
But: use the numbers and special characters in the middle of the password, not at the beginning or the end.
3. Avoid names and words that can be found in a dictionary
Also avoid simple numerical or alphabetical sequences (123 or abc).
Ten seconds to a secure password
Use a mnemonic device:
Use a rhyme or a line of a song as a mnemonic to help you to remember your password. Take the first letters of each word, and add special characters.
"But I still haven't found/What I'm looking for"
As a password: B1shf!W1l4
Good to know: Six things that you should avoid at all costs
- Never use your own name or date of birth.
- Try and remember your passwords instead of writing them down, and never reveal them to others.
- Do not save passwords in the automatic log-in function of online apps, particularly if you share your computer, your laptop or your tablet with anyone else.
- Log out of each application after every session.
- Choose different passwords for different IT applications.
- Protect your PC, laptop and smartphone from viruses and trojans. Even a complex password won't help you if your PC, laptop or smartphone is attacked by a trojan that can read your access data. Deutsche Telekom's "Sicherheitspaket Komplett" (in German) complete security package provides reliable, all-round protection for at home and on the move.