The establishment of World Password Day on 4th May is a great initiative, serving as a reminder to us that we need to put some thought into having secure, regularly updated passwords. Most of us have passwords that are easy for expert hackers to crack, meaning that our personal information is not as safe as we think it is.
So what can we do to protect ourselves and create the strongest and best passwords for all of our different accounts (whilst actually managing to remember them)?
- Make it long
Longer passwords are more secure which is why most passwords must be at least eight characters. If there is a maximum limit on the length, make the password as long as you can. The longer the password, the more the potential combinations that must be guessed by hackers and mischief-makers to get to the correct combination.
- Use a mix of upper and lower case letters, numbers and symbols
Since passwords are case sensitive, using a mix of upper and lower case letters, along with numbers and some special characters makes it even more random and hard to guess. But the question is, how do you create such a password that is secure, but easy to remember?
Dictionary words on their own won’t cut it. The word ‘password’ for example or ‘default’ are some of the commonly used passwords that are ridiculously easy for the hacker to crack with a program that attacks using a dictionary.
Jonathan1985 is also not strong enough since it has a name and numbers that can be linked to you or your family. If you add a special character, like Jonathan$&1985, it’s a little more secure, but there’s still scope for improvement. Think about this when you need to change your password too, don’t just go from Jonathan01 to Jonathan02.
- Create a code
Make sure that the password doesn’t contain any personal information, like your name, year of birth etc. These details are easy to find for the expert hacker, and from there it won’t be long before they crack the whole code.
You can actually have a lot of fun creating a password that will be memorable yet unbeatable. Think of it as a memory exercise. Use a phrase, and then use acronyms or shortcut codes to create your password. Using this method, you could create unique passwords for every single account that you have online.
For example, 2Bor02B_DatIsD? is easy to remember as a line from a Shakespearean play (To be or nought to be, that is the question). At the same time, it’s not so easy for a hacking software to guess.
In this way, you can come up with your own password that means something to you and is therefore easy to remember.
If you need help, there are many ways your keyboard can help you create a memorable password. For example, 4rfvgy7ujmko0 is impossible to remember and looks really random, except that it creates a W on your QWERTY keyboard. There are also a number of apps that will help you to generate random passwords, and can store them somewhere safe for you.
Hopefully these tips should help you come up with your own unique passwords. In fact, rather than the process seeming like a chore, it may actually be fun this time round! So go ahead and prepare for World Password Day by updating the passwords of all your online accounts and let us know how you get on.