How to make strong passwords

The importance of making strong passwords for your email, social media, bank account matter more now than ever. Hackers are getting better and better at cracking weak passwords.

The news tells us about more and more hacking incidents every day. It’s not a question of if it happens to you, but when. The hackers are always one step ahead of the IT security specialists. To protect your information, you should ensure that they can’t uncover your password in the first place!

What are strong passwords?

A strong password consists of several elements:

Length: The longer the chosen password, the better; 8 characters long should be minimum;

Complexity: A password should not only consist of letters and numbers but also symbols;

Freshness: A password is strong when it has not been used before by the user or seen elsewhere on the Internet.

Uniqueness: A password should be unique for each user account, so if one password can unlock multiple accounts you are in trouble.

Resistance to being guessed/cracked by attacks: For this purpose, a combination of symbols, numbers, and upper / lower case letters shall be chosen. The number of possible combinations that need to be tested in order to guess a password is calculated with the help of Password Time! As an example, you would only require one day for testing 1 million passwords consisting of four-character lengths consisting of letters only.

How to make strong passwords

 


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Four general rules for creating strong passwords

Longer is better. The longer your password, the more difficult it will be for someone trying to guess it. Even numbers are better than odd numbers. This one may seem counter-intuitive, but think about it – which would be easier 1 or 11? The answer is clear.

Mix upper case letters with lower case letters – this forces your brain to try both forms of each letter in order to come up with the correct one, making it harder to guess.

Avoid common words – the more common the word, the easier it is to guess.

Use symbols in addition to letters – for example, instead of typing “password1” (which can be guessed easily), type “@?password1”.

So, if we were creating a password for http://www.GMail.com and wanted it to be easy to remember while still being strong enough that no one will be able to guess it… our password would contain at least 8 characters (more is better!), each letter should be capitalized (in other words: PW0RD), each number should be replaced with a symbol (three symbols, “@”, “1” and “#”), and at least 2 unique lower case letters (in this example it’s “o”, but there are many more). So, our password would look like this: PW0R@D1#o.

Using the four rules above, you can create your own strong passwords that are also easy to remember.

Tips on How to keep your passwords safe

1. Use a variety of character types when creating passwords. The more character types you use, the stronger your password will be.

2. Never use any part of your name, username, or company name in your password. Hackers are smart, they know that many users choose to include this information in their passwords and it makes them an easy target for hackers to access other accounts linked with the same email address or username!

3. Make sure all characters used are uppercase as well as lowercase letters, numbers, and symbols where possible – This really does make a difference! All too often people just opt for using upper case letters only which is equally dangerous due to the fact that most passwords are case sensitive. If you use all character types you will reduce the number of potential combinations a hacker can try when cracking your password.

4. Do not use words found in the dictionary or that are common slang words- Hackers have tools that enable them to access a list containing every word in the English dictionary, so using these makes it much more likely that they will gain access to your account!

5. Use different passwords for each account – If one of your accounts gets hacked then it’s highly unlikely that hackers have gained access to other accounts as well, even if they are linked by email address/username. Another good reason for following this tip is that people often use similar passwords across multiple accounts, meaning it to be very easy for hackers to hack into other accounts you hold if they manage to crack your password!

6. Use a combination of upper and lower case letters, numbers, and symbols – Using all character types increases the chances of your password being strong so using both upper and lower case letters as well as numbers and symbols will make it much more difficult for hackers to break into your account.

7. Turn on Two Factor Authentication where possible – Two-factor authentication is an extra security feature often offered by online service providers which means that even if someone manages to gain access to your email address or username they still won’t be able to get into your account because they will also require access to the code sent via text message or generated by an app every time you sign in, making it much more difficult for hackers to access your accounts!

8. Use a password manager – Password managers are programs designed to help you keep track of all the passwords you use on the internet, meaning that instead of having to remember them yourself (which often results in people using easy-to-remember passwords like their name, date of birth, etc.) you only have to remember one master password which will then generate strong unique passwords for each account or website you use. Some popular password managers available include 1Password and Lastpass.

9. Don’t recycle your password – If someone manages to hack into any one of your accounts then they may well try the same login details on other websites as well, meaning it’s a good idea to use different passwords for each account!

10. Avoid writing down or sharing your passwords with anyone – This means that even if someone does manage to hack into your email address or username they still won’t be able to get access to your accounts because you won’t have written them down which often happens if people share their passwords with friends, family, etc… Hackers can also look through things like old notes and letters in order to gain access to website logins, so make sure you memorize your passwords or write them down in a secure place where no one can find them!

How to make strong passwords

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