Creating strong passwords may seem like a daunting task, especially when the recommendation is to have a unique password for each site you visit. Anyone would be overwhelmed if they had to create and memorize multiple passwords like Wt4e-79P-B13^qS.
As a result, you may be using one identical password even though you know it’s unsafe and that if it gets compromised all of your web information is exposed. Or you use several passwords, but they are all short simple words or include numbers that relate to your life they are still too easy to guess. Or, if you made hard to remember passwords (probably because your business or a website forced you to) then you likely have a list of the passwords right next to your computer – even though you know this also compromises your safety if others use your computer.
Passwords you can’t remember are useless. But passwords that are too easy to remember can be easy to guess or to ascertain with a brute-force attack. With activities like personal banking and retirement increasingly migrating online, the stakes continue to rise.
The key aspects of a strong password are length (the longer the better); a mix of letters (upper and lower case), numbers, and symbols, no ties to your personal information, and no dictionary words. The good news is you don’t have to memorize awful strings of random letters numbers and symbols in order to incorporate all of these aspects into your passwords. You simply need a few tricks.
The secret is to make passwords memorable but hard to guess. Learning a few simple skills will make creating strong memorable passwords easy. Creating them can actually be fun – and your payoff in increased safety is huge.
To understand the definition of a strong password, it’s best to go over common practices that put millions of users at risk on a daily basis. Let’s look at a few examples of weak passwords to understand why these put you at risk:
The word “Password” is the most commonly used password. It’s also pathetically weak – as are ’default’ and ’blank’. These are simple words that can be easily guessed by a user. However, humans aren’t your only concern. Programs that use automated databases can perform a dictionary assault on your system, identifying the password easily.
A common example is using a last name + year of birth combination. Marshall1968 – though this example uses 12 characters and includes letters and numbers, it includes both a name that can be associated with you or your family, and other identifying pieces of information such as your birth year, which means it can be easily hacked.
Let’s say you use “F1avoR” as a password, mixing up capital letters and numbers. Here are two important reasons why this password example isn’t safe:
So you’ve settled on a password that’s the perfect length, obscure, and mixes letters, numbers, and cases. You’re on the right track, but not to total password security just yet.
Short answer: The secret to creating a hard-to-crack password that’s unique and easy to remember is to focus on making it memorable and making it hard to guess. Seems simple enough, right? By learning a few simple skills, you can easily create a strong and memorable password with minimal effort. Plus, creating them can actually be fun – and your payoff in increased safety is huge.
To avoid these easy to guess or hack passwords try one or more of the following tricks:
These examples let you use phrases that either means something to you, or you associate with a type of website. For example, the ’all for one and one for all’ may be the password for a social networking site where it’s all about sharing. It could be a phrase about money for a banking site, and so on.
These examples tell a story using a consistent style so if you know how you write the first sections, and you’re on the login page for a site you’ll know what to add.
Considering that most computer keyboards contain 101 to 105 keys, you have a ton of options when it comes to crafting a unique password. You don’t have to think of it just as the numbers you see, but rather, as a canvas to draw on.
You’re now ready to create your own strong, long, memorable mixed-character passwords using one or more of these tricks. Or, create your own system- C?U2canCRE8Pwords;-) (See? You too can create passwords☺). Now, share the tips with others, just don’t share your passwords!