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Guess My Password

It is not even my place to say this. I am ONLY a marketing person. So you'd think passwords would be a bit off topic...

It is a bit of a pet frustration of mine from the late nineties when I was a Systems Administrator. Passwords that are too easy to guess. I am sure I can make it relevant to marketing or websites.

In the work I do, occasionally clients have to give me their password for their website so that we can do what needs to be done. I get to see passwords all the time. What seems amazing to me is two things; firstly; how easy they would be to guess, and secondly how rarely they change. If I make a comment to the customer about this I usually get replies like 'its only my website'.

So imagine you run a website. Hopefully you now collect email addresses and send regular emails, and you can probably edit your website too. Imagine by some strange coincidence, you username to log in, is your email address. (about 90% of you I am guessing) finding out your email address is pretty easy. Searching who owns the domain, reading their website or noticing them on social media will probably be enough to find this much out, so you are at least halfway there.

Now for the fun part. If your password contains any of the following you are in trouble; 

  • birth date (or that of any of your immediate family) 
  • the word 'Password' 
  • any standard sequence of numbers (like 1234)
  • your business name 
  • your pet's name 
  • superman (or other favourite super hero) 
  • This is only a really basic list. You can search common passwords or better, search how to make a good password. 

Anyway, back to your website and database. Besides your mandated requirement that you protect the personal information of your clients, what if someone could get in to your website? what would they change in your website? What message could they send to your database? Could they download your customer data? Could they delete your whole website? 

More often, websites are a crucial part of every business, saving hours of work each day, creating sales, providing customer support, managing communication. (At least this is what they should be doing for you) If you aren't protecting this system it would be like using a plastic lock on your store in the main street of town. 

Change your Password, regularly!

Extra tips;
Do you have too many passwords? Hate remembering them? use a service like Lastpass or Roboform, protect these with a long hard password, and that will be the last password you have to remember! These services will complete forms, and enter passwords on most websites for you.
They also integrate with your phone, and some with notify you if any of the sites you have saved have a security breach.

How to make a good password; Aim to have at least 8, and better 12 characters in your password.

Find a short sentence that you can remember, then pull out letters that will help you remember the password like this:
My newphew HAS $40Million Dollars!
so the password uses the capitals and special characters; Mnhas$40md! - oh, and don't even try, that is not my password... ;-)