Online users are constantly being encouraged to use strong passwords. Not only because it’s something what everyone says, but because it should become a standard security practice for all.
And while you can take advantage of services like password managers, it still needs its own password.
Here are some things to keep in mind when making strong passwords as well as several tips for remembering them.
1. It doesn’t have to be extremely long
Experts suggest choosing a password that is 12 to 14 characters in length. There is no set number of characters a password needs to be, but this is the general number you can try and stick with when making your password.
2. Mix of capital and lowercase Letters, numbers, and symbols
Creating a password with a unique mix of characters makes it harder for someone to guess it.
3. Don’t be obvious
Avoid using a password that is obvious. For example, if your password had the word “dog” in it, substituting the letter o with the number 0 is too obvious.
4. Have different passwords for each account
It may seem convenient to have one password for all accounts, but this could lead to a nightmare. If someone guessed your password and got it right for one account, they can gain access to other online accounts with that same password.
Over 70% of Facebook account holders use their email address password to login. If you have other accounts such as Twitter, Amazon, and eBay with the same password, you may want to change them.
5. Don’t use the password that others may know of
Experts suggest avoiding using common passwords like “123456” or “password.” Having a common password makes it easier for hackers to break into multiple online accounts. Other common variations to avoid include your favorite sport’s team, anniversary date, kids names, birthdays, or where you were born. If a password has any of the details mentioned it may not be considered strong enough, even if you added additional characters.
Hackers tend to use special programs to find such types of words first. Additionally, you should avoid words like “god,” “love,” and “money.” If you are using such easy common passwords right now, you probably shouldn’t be on the internet.
6. “Passwords are like underwear”
This is a saying many are familiar with when it comes to passwords − a reminder that you should change your passwords often. You may not need to change them daily, but you get the idea. You also don’t want them “hanging out” where others may see them.
7. Use a password generator tool
There are online password generator tools to help you come up with stronger passwords. You can use it to create passwords based on information such as length, punctuation, lower and upper case, and so on. You can change characters to suit your preference.
8. Create passwords wrong
You may have a password in mind, but when you type it, try using different keys on the keyboard so that you actually create something else. This way, you would create another unique variation of your password.
9. Check your password
When creating a password, check its strength with an online tool. A password with a mixed combination of lowercase letters could take about 10 minutes to crack. A password with lowercase letters and numbers mixed could take a couple of hours to crack. A password with multiple uppercase letters, a few lowercase letters, a number, and a symbol could take roughly 3 years to crack.
10. Make passwords the same but unique
A great trick for using the same password for multiple accounts is to use part of the account name in the password itself. For example, let’s say your password for Facebook is “Mp9gr5*FAC”. For your email account login, it could be “Mp9gr5*EMA.” For your PayPal account, it could be “Mp9gr5*PAY.” You get the picture.
11. Use account authentication tools
More and more websites such as Yahoo are now using this method. You can have your cell phone number or another email address as a form of authentication. A message is sent to the address you have listed with a notification that someone has logged into the account from another device or computer.
12. Avoid phishing
Pay attention to emails that may look legit but are actually designed for phishing. There will be things that look out of place, such as the logo, spelling, word use, and even the email address where it came from.
13. Your devices should be secured
Anytime you log in from your tablet, smartphone, or computer, your device should have some type of security added to it, such as antivirus software. Your operating system should be up-to-date.
A strong password may not be enough if someone is glancing over your shoulder as you type. There is even software to track keystrokes known as keyboard loggers. Take as many precautions as possible to cover your tracks.
14. Secure your phone with a strong password or fingerprint
You can lock your phone using a password or a passcode following the previous tips. There are new phone designs with the option of locking the device with a fingerprint as well. If your phone gets lost or stolen and someone tries to access the information, they would need your fingerprint.
15. Expert advice can help but not always
You can do all the research you want about passwords and come across all kinds of tips on what you should and shouldn’t do. An example would be to avoid leaving your list of passwords written in areas others may see them. This seems like a no-brainer, but it is a part of being productive in a positive manner.
Should passwords be written down? How else would you keep track of them? Sometimes it is considered a timesaving aspect of having them written down. For others, it helps to have the same password across all accounts if it saves time. Some experts say having more than one password may not be worth the time.
At the end of the day do what you feel is best when creating passwords and be sure to keep them where you can remember. It helps to get insight from an expert to get an idea of what you can do better to protect sensitive information. But don’t stress over it.
We hope these tips have proven to be useful to you. Feel free to leave your comments below and check out why you should use a password manager and learn even more about making an unbreakable password.