Use passwords so strong they’re called passphrases!

I recently got into a debate on social media with a journalist who insisted passwords don’t matter. I’m here to tell you they do.

Your password serves as a lock on the front door of your digital accounts.

Let’s face it: A deadbolt on the front door of your home doesn’t always stop a criminal from breaking in and stealing your prized possessions.  But it does make your home less of a target, compared to someone who only has a simple doorknob.

That’s exactly what passwords do. In fact, given the sensitive nature of our work, journalists should use passwords so strong they’re called a passphrase—words linked together that create a short phrase.

The best passphrases combine, letters, numbers AND symbols. This makes it more difficult for cyber criminals to guess.

Here are examples of passphrases:

•    Cyb3r$p4c3Rule$

•    Tru$No1xptM*nsB3$tFr/e^d

•     S4yNOTOSp4m4L[F3!

•     M3y3[E@DR0cks!$!

The more complicated a password, the longer it takes a password cracker to break it.  Usually hard passwords just get ignored as they are too labor intensive and the bad guy moves on to someone else who believes “password123” is acceptable. Lists of other bad passwords get written up regularly.

Someday digital authentication will move beyond the password but until then practicing strong passphrases is a super power that as journalists we must all wield.