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Safe passwords

June 18, 2024

Does your password also consist of your birthdate, your cat's name, or simply 'azerty' because it's easy to remember? Then it's time to rethink your strategy...

A password is a password, right? 🤔

It makes sense that a password needs to be secure. But what about your password? A good password has these three characteristics:

  • It is long: imagine you have to crack a combination lock. Which lock would you prefer to crack? One with 1.000 possibilities or one with 100,000? The choice is obvious. The same principle applies to passwords: the more characters, the harder it is to crack.

  • It is not personal. But, a password is always personal! Yes and no. Yes, because only you use it, and no, because it shouldn't be linked to you personally. Every day, we share a lot of personal information online (consciously or unconsciously), which can be used to figure out your password. So, don't choose the name of a niece, your grandpa's birthday, a hobby, or your hometown as a password.

  • It is complex: it's harder to crack when you use different types of characters:
    ❌ Does your password only have lowercase letters or numbers? Bad news: it can be easily guessed. 😥
                  Example: “mobilevikings” of “456923”
    ❌ Do you have lowercase and uppercase letters? That's better.
                  Example: “ “MOBilEViKINGs”
    ✅ Does your password include lowercase letters, uppercase letters, and numbers? Well done!
                  Example: “M0bIL3V1KiNG5”
    ✅ Is it a combo of numbers, lowercase letters, uppercase letters, and special characters? BINGO! Your password is a winner. 👏
                  Example: "M0b!Lé*V1kìnG$"

    You get the idea: choose a long and impersonal password, with different types of characters. By the way, curious how long it takes to hack your password?
    Check it here. 👈

  • I am eco-conscious: I even recycle my passwords! ♻️

    You know the drill: you create a new account and you have to choose a password again... But beware, you have to follow the rules: at least 8 characters including at least one uppercase letter, one number, and one special character. Are you also uninspired at such times? Don't worry, you're not alone. But then, do you think about using your standard password? Unfortunately, you're not doing well, no matter how strong your password is. 😶

    Your password is the key that grants you access to an account. But is reusing a password really a good idea? Think about it: would you use the same key for everything? For your front door, car, bike lock, or even your safe deposit? Sounds ridiculous, right? The same principle applies to your passwords and PIN codes: a separate key for each account is much safer.

    If your password is stolen or leaked, hackers often use your stolen login credentials to try accessing other websites as well. If there's a match, the hacker may gain access to an account containing personal information.

    Plundering my passwords? Who would bother with that? 🤷

    When a recycled password is cracked, it's an open house for all your accounts. Hackers will be very grateful that they have such easy access to your personal information.

    With this information, a hacker can easily steal your identity and, for example, make large purchases in your name. For the victim, this often ends in amountain of debt and a lot of misery trying to set everything right. By the way, the chance of ever getting your money back is very small.

    A stolen or leaked password is therefore not as innocent as it may seem. Do you want to find out if your email address or password has ever been part of a data breach? 👉 Check it using the website 'Have I Been Pwned' for your email adresses and passwords.

    We have good news for your My Viking account: the 'Have I Been Pwned' service is integrated into your account. So, you will automatically receive a notification if the email address you use for your Mobile Vikings account is found in a data breach. Be sure to check out this article for more info.

    So save yourself all that misery and update your passwords if needed. A forewarned Viking is forearmed! 😉

    Some extra tips for a safe password 🔐

    Make your passwords long and complex:

    1. Use a word chain: combine unrelated words. There should be a clear and easy-to-remember link for you, as you need to remember the password.
      Example: grass, book, green, pillow, and door. Connect the words with special characters to make it more difficult: "grass-book-green-pillow-door".
      Make it even more challenging by replacing letters with special characters: "Grà$s-Bö0k-P!Ll0W-DòoR".

    2. Use a passphrase instead of a password: a passphrase is complex and usually easier to remember.
      Example: "The-baker-bakes-100-waffles-with-raisins”.
      Make it more complex by using numbers, special characters, and uppercase and lowercase letters: "tH€-B@k3r-bákE5-100-WafFles-wiTH-r4is!ns”.

    3. Use random combinations: guessing or observing random combinations is very difficult, which makes it the best method. Remembering the password, however, is a bit more difficult. But there are plenty of digital password managers that generate and store your passwords for you. 😉
      Example: “uK*ai{pu~Gh6bo>o;g”.

    Do I have to remember all those passwords? 😳

    No, don’t worry! 😊 Fortunately, there are password managers that allow you to store all your login credentials in one place. So, you only need to remember one password: the one for the password manager. ✅ Often, a password manager (or vault) will automatically fill in your logins as needed via an app or plug-in. Of course, you first need to confirm it's you with a password, PIN code, itsme, face recognition, or a fingerprint. 😉 In these vaults, you can also securely store other information like payment details, addresses, or important notes. Easy peasy, right? 😎

    💡 So it's definitely worth checking out these password managers:

  • Bitwarden can generate secure passwords for you. You can use it on your desktop or through the mobile app. You have the option to choose between a free or a premium account.
  • Samsung Pass is completely free. Gain access to all your passwords using facial recognition or fingerprint authentication.
  • Dashlane notifies you immediately if a hack or data breach is detected. You can use it for free on desktop (Mac and Windows). For the mobile app, you pay a small monthly fee.
  • Keepass is an open-source password manager, ideal if you are technically inclined. Store your passwords on your own hard drive. You can use it for free on Mac, Windows, and Linux.

    Are you old school and prefer working with pen and paper or a quill and ink? Then bring out your best parchment roll and your finest handwriting! 🪶 Write down your passwords in a notebook dthat you keep safe. In this case, you don't need to remember a password, just the place where you've hidden your notebook. 😉 Many will argue that this is not secure at all. But let's be serious for a moment, what are the chances of someone breaking into your home, just to steal your passwords? 🤨 A burglar wouldn't go through that effort and would stick to your valuables instead.

    Be sure to check these articles if you want more info about safe and strong passwords:

  • A strong and long password will always keep my account secure. True or false?
  • Password Protection
  • Be safe out there: choose your passwords wisely and protect them.