It is extremely important to pick a good, secure password, because your password is the only way the computer can verify that the person logging on is actually you. The top reasons that people gain unauthorized access to password protected machines is they guessed the persons password, usually because they found it on a sticky note or piece of paper next to the victim's computer or because they witnessed the person type in the password. There are also software programs that are extremely good at guessing passwords as I discussed in my previous article that can even find complex passwords like
Dangers of Weak Passwords
If someone obtains your password, they could potentially go to your account and look through your private data: email, bank accounts (credit cards, social security number), phone messages. Then they could proceed to either alter or destroy your files and take over your computer, and they may even perform illegal activities under your name. In these cases it is extremely difficult to find out who the culprit is and you may even face charges for their crimes
Make your password long and over 15 characters as the longer it is, the more difficult it will be to attack the password with brute force. A brute force attack is continually attempting to log in starting alphabetically, such as aaa.. aab.. aac... aad... aae... etc.. usually up to 15 characters in length. Some sites are less secure than others, and will allow this kind of attack to hit the server 100 times a second, at which point the criminal will leave his computer running as his software attacks the server for hours to days until he gains access.
How to make an easy to remember password over 15 characters
Make your password have spaces, such as 'the tomato is blue'. Also try using capital letters 'I love eating fruit'. Both of these passwords are extremely secure from brute force attacks and would likely last hundreds of years against a brute force that attacks a server at 100 times a second. I know hundred years sounds rather long and will most likely outlive you, but not only will criminals give up, you will rest better at night knowing you are safe.
Mistakes of short simple lowercase letter passwords
When a website asks "security questions" incase you forget your password, and often the questions are:
What is your spouse's name? parent's name? pet's name? child's name? elementary/middle/high school name? your birthdate and your phone number, your address. A criminal who finds out some information about you and feels that you are a worthy target will purchase reports on you from several websites and services that have a surprising amount of information on you and will use the information like 'parent's name' or 'your address' to gain access to your account because your security password was weak. You can make your security answer/passwords stronger by having 'my mom's name is Emily' where you combine spaces, capital letters and symbols. This is slightly more difficult to remember than 'the tomato is blue' but it is very effective at stopping criminals in their tracks.