Last month we talked about using a password tool, so you only have to keep up with one password. And while remembering a single password is great, it is important that password is a strong one that no human or AI technology can guess. And, while you may be using a password tool to store your info, it’s key that you use a different password for each service to limit your security exposure.

So, what consideration do you need to have before choosing a password? After all, they are the first line of protection against your private information and no one- be it a large corporation or a single individual- is safe from being hacked or dealing with a data breach. Everyone is at risk of being a cyber victim, so choosing a good password is a must!

Tips for Choosing a Good Password

Before determining what constitutes a good password, let’s first establish what elements comprise a bad password.

  • Sequential characters – QWERTY and 12345 are classic examples of sequential characters that, believe it or not, some people still think are effective passwords for their accounts.
  • Short passwords – While most sites only require a 6–8-character password, this doesn’t mean that a short password is truly safe.
  • Don’t duplicate passwords – You can have a great password, but if you use it for every login, you face then if a hacker breaks it once they will have access to all your accounts.
  • Making it personal – Don’t choose birthdates, anniversary, pet names, family member names, favorite sports teams, musicians, or any other entities that may be well-known by others.
  • Don’t duplicate character types – Using all lowercase or all caps, or just numbers will make it easy for hackers to break into.
  • Spell things backwards – It might seem cute or reasonable to craft a password where it’s a common word just delleps sdrawkcab but at the end of the day it is still an easy mark for a hacker.
  • A single word with a character – A single word plus a character (chardonnay2 or <icecream) might be something you can remember but it is ineffective as a password.
  • Stolen Words – Some passwords are more susceptible to be stolen or hacked. Not using these words is a great place to start. If you want to check the security level of a word or phrase, you can do so by going to Have I Been Pwned and entering the password.

How to Create Strong Passwords

If any of these Don’ts mean that you need to come up with new passwords, then now is the time to craft some new logins but implement these tips.

  • Go Long – At bare minimum your password should be 12 characters, ideally it should be 16 or more upper and lowercase letters, special symbols, and numbers.
  • Think Alpha-numeric – Many letters can be replaced with numbers or symbols, as can syllables. For instance, “9” might be used as a “g” or “8” or “$” for rel8$ (relates…of course, this is too short for a password!)
  • Use a Passphrase – A passphrase is a string of words condensed to a series of letters, numbers, and characters – often the first letter of each word. For example: Ecclesiastes 3:1 “To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under heaven.” Becomes, E3!2ettiAS&aX2e9uH
  • Be Random – Use a group of random words, but intersperse alpha-numeric characters, an extra punctuation symbol or even a misspelled word. Rocks, Pizza, Gnome, and Fate becomes r0<k$:91zz@:Gn0m3*&F8
  • Use Emoticons – No you cannot use the cartoon symbols, but you can use the punctuation, letters, and numbers for them. So, Charles Dickens, Tale of Two Cities opening line, “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times…” might be – CDt2c:)oXs:<x
  • Create Custom Passwords for Specific Accounts – Maybe you have crafted the perfect strong password and you really don’t want to come up with something new for every account. (We feel your pain!) Consider customizing that password for each account -Facebook, Amazon, Etsy, etc.- by coming up with a code for those platforms. Facebook could be CDt2c:)oXs:<xf800k, Amazon might be CDt2c:)oXs:<xAZN, and Etsy may be CDt2c:)oXs:<xe$Y
  • Use a Password Generator – If coming up with a phrase or group of words you can remember is not appealing, then consider using a password generator. There are numerous tools that will create random strings of characters for you. Some of these include NordPass, RoboForm, 1Password, and LastPass

Crafting the perfect passwords might take a bit of time, but once you get in the habit of it, you will be able to do it with ease. No more simple passwords easily cracked by the nefarious means you can rest easier knowing you have done your part to protect your information. Then add in using Two-factor authentication plus a password manager, and only must remember one strong password, and let that tool keep up with the rest of your new and improve strong passwords.

At Page Progressive, we will do our part to see that your information is protected, but it is up to you to set up a secure password. If you have questions regarding your account, website, etc. please feel free to contact us.