May 5, 2022
Password Day – How To Create a Secure Password
As the world becomes more technologically advanced, an increasing number of businesses and services are flocking to online platforms, meaning that passwords are becoming essential for just about anything we do on our computers or devices. However, not all passwords can guarantee that your personal data will be safe and secure so it’s important to take time to consider what you will use to make your accounts uncrackable.
Creating a secure password may seem like an arduous task, especially nowadays when recommended passwords look like this – p!;A(&#N%tJ!b4’2. Sure, this password may be extremely strong and will ensure that hackers will likely never gain access to your data, but will you be able to remember it? Probably not, especially if you take recommended action and use a different password for every device and account you have. Therefore, you may be using one password for all your accounts or multiple short and simple ones which won’t provide adequate security for your precious files or even your financial details!
Passwords that are strong but you can’t remember are useless. However, passwords that are too easy to remember can be easy to guess or obtain through brute-force. So, how do you create a secure password that you can be sure you will remember? Follow these tips highlighted in this article and you can be sure your password will be secure but memorable.
Elements of a Strong Password
The most important part of a strong password is the length, the more characters the better. This is because it will take longer for someone to brute-force their way into gaining your password as the more characters there are, the more combinations the person or program will have to go through to find yours. Additionally, adding a mix of letters, numbers and symbols combined with the length will really increase your security and make it almost impossible to crack. Also, don’t use words or phrases that are easily associated with yourself, friends, family or pets such as names, places and dates as anyone close to you will probably have a good idea of what your password might be and it won’t take long for someone to guess correctly.
Elements of a Weak Password
Obviously, setting your password as simply “Password1” is just inviting people to access your information. However, there are a wide range of features of passwords that many people make use of which aren’t helping their security. For example, using common words isn’t a clever idea as these can be easily guessed by other people and programs that use dictionaries and word databases will be able to find your password immediately. Also, as mentioned before, names, places and significant dates are easily guessed by others, especially if the person trying to decipher your password knows you. While these elements are easy to remember, they are not very secure and will make hackers’ jobs a lot easier.
Tips for Creating a Strong, Memorable Password
Use Short Phrases or Acronyms
While names and common words are off the table, feel free to use memorable phrases. These could be from a book you’ve read or from a TV show or film that you enjoy. If you are going to use a memorable phrase, make sure to mix up the characters such as replacing letters with numbers and breaking up words with symbols to make your password as secure as possible and remember, the longer the better. As an example, you could turn the quote “May the force be with you” into “M4y_Th3_F0rce_b3_W1th_U!”. Also, you can incorporate acronyms into this method. Although shorter, a seemingly random string of letters will be much harder to crack and including numbers and symbols again will increase its security tenfold.
Use Keyboard Patterns and Symbols
Think of your keyboard as a blank canvas, it doesn’t matter what characters you select as long as the pattern is unique but something you will be able to remember. The huge benefit of this is that remembering a simple pattern or symbol is much easier than remembering the string of letters or numbers that the symbol creates.
Utilise Password Strength Checkers
If you’re unsure whether your password will grant you the security you need, strength checkers are a straightforward way to see how your password will perform. Some checkers even give you an estimation of how long it would take to crack your code, informs you if that password has previously been exposed in a data breach and offers suggestions to improve weaker passwords. In fact, we tested our example password mentioned earlier (M4y_Th3_F0rce_B3_W1th_U!) and found that it would take centuries to crack! Keep on the watch though, because while there are hundreds of websites and apps that will check your password’s strength, not all of them can be trusted. Here are some recommendations for websites that you can use to check your passwords safely:
How to Maintain a Secure Password
Once you’ve created a strong password using the tips and methods highlighted above that you will be sure you can remember, how do you keep that password safe?
Don’t Share Your password
It’s vitally important that you don’t mention your password to anyone. However, this can sometimes be unavoidable if you have a work PC, and your IT manager needs to access your computer to perform maintenance. In which case, make sure to change your password immediately after to avoid a data breach.
Don’t Write Your Passwords Down
While it might be tempting as an effortless way to remember your password, anyone could easily stumble across it and instantly have access to your important data. This is especially important at work where it could be other people’s sensitive information that you are putting at risk!
Don’t Reuse Passwords
Even if you’ve created an incredibly secure password and taken all the steps to ensure it’s safety, if you’re using the same password for every account, website and device, all it takes is one breach and everything you thought was secure is now exposed. Therefore, choose a different password for each device and each profile you have and the risks to safety will be minimised.
Following these steps, you can be sure that your passwords will be ultra-secure, giving hackers a run for their money. The best part though, is that you will be able to remember them!