Smiley Emojis Can Boost Password Security – Here's Why You Should Consider Using Them

Next time you create or change a password, consider adding one or two smiley emojis. Leading cybersecurity experts have found that many applications allow the use of smiley emojis in passwords, and this comes with significant advantages.

Emojis, commonly used for texting and social media posts, can also enhance your security. Computers typically interpret emojis as letters, numbers, and punctuation marks. This means you can use emojis to make your passwords considerably more secure.

"When hackers attempt to crack a password containing letters, numbers, and punctuation, they have to choose from fewer than a hundred variations for each character," says Stan Kaminski, an expert from cybersecurity giant Kaspersky. "But Unicode offers over 3600 standardized emojis, so adding one to your password makes hackers go through around 3700 variations for each character."

"So, in terms of complexity, a password made up of five different emojis is equivalent to a regular nine-character password. Meanwhile, seven emojis are equivalent to a robust 13-character 'regular' password."

There are other advantages to using emojis. They make it easier to remember a complex "jumble" of letters, noted Kaminski. Hackers also typically do not use emojis in brute force attacks, where they target a system with a massive list of possible logins.

However, there are some nuances to be aware of. Not every application will allow you to enter emojis as a password, so for some services, you may need to use more traditional logins. Emojis can also be trickier to input if you're trying to log in quickly. Recent emojis on your keyboard can potentially give away your login details, Kaminski cautioned.

To get the best of both worlds, consider using emojis for a slight modification of your password rather than a complete replacement. "A reasonable compromise would be to add a couple of emojis to your password to make it more complex," suggests Kaminski.

Of course, using emojis does not replace traditional security advice, such as using long passwords, password managers, and two-factor authentication (2FA).