You can stop trying to come up with really long and complicated passwords. It now turns out that just three random words, like “house” “television” and “work” strung together could very well be the most secure password to have. This is according to a study from the U.K.’s National Cyber Security Center.
Aren’t you tired of constantly having to come up with new, longer and more complex passwords? Who isn’t? Just when you got all of your important passwords set up, using certain numbers and phrases that are easy for you to remember, but not so obvious to potential hackers, the companies and websites come up with a new requirement for passwords.
First, you only needed a combination of letters and numbers strung together. Then they said that at least two of the letters be capital. Then they increased the number of minimum characters. And recently they have even begun to require that you add a punctuation mark somewhere.
Then there are the websites and apps that make you change your password every six months.
It’s enough to drive you nuts, isn’t it? But with all of the hackers out there today trying to ruin your life by putting virus on your computer just for fun, and all of the ones sending out ransomware randomly in the hopes of catching someone off their guard who can give them access to a private company’s systems, you can’t be too careful. Cybersecurity is as big a problem as ever.
So to hear that we might actually be able to use just three random words, in any combination, and still have a secure password, is certainly a relief. But is this even possible?
Well, first the study’s authors explain that the current password system has failed because of all of the complexities listed above. “The traditional password advice built around ‘password complexity’ failed because it told us to do things that most of us simply can’t do (i.e. memories lots of long, complex passwords),” says the study.
So how does the three word system work? The researchers state that passwords generated from three random words help users to create “unique passwords that are strong enough for many purposes, and can be remembered much more easily. This is also good for those who aren’t aware of password managers, or are reluctant to use them. However, there are several other reasons why the NCSC chose the three random words strategy.”
Poppycock, most people will say. But the NCSC has an answer for every cynic. First, the words should be long. So no using “catdoghat” or anything like that. Second, there are plenty of programs used to hack complex passwords anyway, which is why people keep getting hacked.
Finally, many people are being victimized today by hacks of their e mail and social media accounts, not because of poor passwords, but because of poor planning. Not enough can be said about being careful when using a public Wi-Fi system anywhere. Even if the coffee shop or hotel can be trusted, hackers have ways of logging on and breaking into other devices on the same Wi-Fi system. Also, people just keep on falling for phishing scams.
So remember, it’s not just your password that is important. Be aware! Be very aware!