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The Risks of Incrementing a Base Password

159You know when you go to sign up for a new account, and you’re given WAY too many strict password requirements, so you decide “screw this” and make it the same as your usual password? How do you make this new secure password distinctive from your regular password: by adding special characters, numbers, or a combination of both?

You might add a different number to the end of your usual password, counting up each time. This practice is known as “incrementing” a “base password.” By incrementing, you only make this new password slightly different than your base or usual password. Although it may be easier than making up a whole new password from scratch, adding a few characters to your password won’t fool hackers if they truly want to get into your account.

That’s because your base password is fundamentally the same. From that diving board, the rest of your password is super easy to figure out. Incremented base passwords might be an easier route, but aren't necessarily safe. Read today's post to learn the importance of creating different passwords.. It can be super tempting to have a ready-made password which already fits all of the requirements you were given, but resist that urge. There is always the possibility you’ll make so many accounts with that password that you forget which increment goes to which account. That fear, combined with my terrible memory worse than other people’s, is what drives me to creating a secure password each time I make an account.

Although, I’ll be perfectly honest, writing down all of my secure passwords on one (extremely messy) page of notebook paper probably isn’t the brightest idea. Doubly so with writing them down in a secret code I saw in some books I read. So I may not be the best out there at keeping track of my passwords, but I at least haven’t incremented my passwords. Doing that, I imagine, would only ever result an endless loop of the bane of my existence: the dreaded Password Reset. It’s up there alongside “wearing wet socks” for things I hate the most.

Instead of making up another password that’s just an incremented version of your base password, I challenge you to make up a passphrase. This is a phrase or sentence that you’ll type in as your secure password. It’s long enough to meet those stringent password standards you’re given, but since it’s a phrase, you’ll also be able to remember it easily. Give it a try, and let me know whether it worked for you!


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Tags: #forgotpassword, #passwordmanagement, #passwords, web applications, password patterns, password generator, password habits, security risk, cybercriminals, password history, stay safe online, password requirements, password policy

Abbey Freeman

Author: Abbey Freeman