- Someone's out to get you.
- You become the victim of a brute-force attack.
- There's a data breach.
The third is one that happens more often than you think. Every week multiple companies in the US are hacked and private information of millions of consumers is compromised.
Avoiding these types of attacks is dependent on the complexity of your password and security habits. Here are some tips:
- VERY IMPORTANT - Do not repeat your password across different platforms/websites.
- Make them at least 16 characters.
- Incorporate a combination of numbers, symbols, uppercase letters, lowercase letters, and spaces.
- Avoid dictionary words, usernames, pronouns, IDs, and any other predefined number or letter sequences such as 123 or abc.
A good example of a strong password is creating a phrase like "I hope to win the lottery and travel the world in 2016!” Then, take the initials of each word and all numbers and symbols to create your password. So, that phrase would result in this: IhtwtLattWi2016!
Another route you can leverage is to use a password generator, which come in the form of offline programs and Web sites. Many password managers like LastPass or Dashlane also have built in password generator tools. Also, Microsoft offers its own online strength checker (http://bit.ly/Passwordsecurity), and promises that the form is completely secure. Mac users can use the built-in Password Assistant to check their passwords' security.
Lastly, as a regular habit, change your passwords every six months. It may sound like an arduous chore, but it will give you peace of mind.
Let me know if this information helped you and feel free to share if you use another method that was not mentioned in this post.