Tips to Create Strong Passwords
Would you believe it if we told you “123456” was still the most popular password among internet users? In the 21st century, where everyone grows up on the internet, browsing and typing their way through life, it is hard to believe passwords are still a neglected aspect of cybersecurity. After spending years in cyberspace, the importance of passwords for a secure internet experience isn’t a novelty to anyone. Having a strong or weak password could be the one thing standing between your data and a malicious hacker. But unfortunately, when it comes to passwords, a good majority of people still prefer easy-to-remember words over strong alphanumeric combinations. Are you looking for tips to create strong passwords for your digital accounts? Our experts from Perth are here to help you. But first…
What makes a password strong or weak?
The secret to making strong passwords is creating combinations of words and symbols that aren’t easily deciphered. In simple terms, a weak password is easy to guess, while a strong password is harder to crack. Using common words like “password” makes it easy for hackers to access your accounts. Names, birthdays, names of pets etc., can help you create memorable passwords but will also put your security at risk.
Here are eight tips for creating strong passwords.
1. Make them long
Hackers have unlimited technologies to try and gain control over your accounts. They usually use various trial and error methods to crack the passwords. One of the most commonly used techniques is called a “brute force attack”. In this attack, the hacker’s computer runs through millions of combinations of letters, symbols and numbers to guess your password and get into your account. The process takes less than a second for passwords that are three characters long. The more characters your password has, the more time the computer will take to figure out your password.
2. Use non-existent phrases
Using long passwords is a good practice. Using long passwords that have random phrases is an even better cybersecurity practice. When the words or phrases you use to form passwords aren’t in the dictionary, it’s harder to guess them. Avoid using sequential combinations such as “123456” or “abcdefg” or even “qwerty”.
3. Create acronyms
Having multiple passwords, all made up of random characters, can be challenging to remember. Here’s an easy tip to create passwords that appear random but are not- use short forms or acronyms. You can use famous quotes or even Bible verses. For example, 2BeOrNt2B_datsthe? (To be or not to be, that is the question) or 1Ring2rule@ThemAll (The Fellowship of the Ring). You can also create site-specific phrases, such as Pw4_AmZ0n (Password for Amazon) or F@ce_B00k@PwrD (Facebook password).
4. Avoid reusing passwords
Most people reuse passwords for convenience. Remembering one password is, of course, easier than multiple passwords, but it is also a less safe option. Reusing passwords makes the hacker’s job easier. If a hacker guesses the password, they’ll be able to get into all your accounts and collect all your information. So, create a unique password for each website or app you use.
5. Add numbers, symbols and capital letters
Mixing symbols and numbers with the letters will help you create a strong password. Substituting zero for “O”, an exclamation mark for “I”, and @ for “A” is very common these days. If your password is a combination of words, try capitalizing the first letter of each term. The more unique your mix is, the more secure your password will be.
6. Don’t use personal information
As already mentioned, using your name, date of birth, pet’s name etc., contributes to an easily hackable password. If someone decides to hack your accounts, these will be their first guesses. Even using your city name or school name isn’t a good idea. If your account needs a security question, select a question that doesn’t give an obvious answer by just browsing through your social media pages. Always go for the more private, less discoverable information.
7. Use password managers
If forgetfulness is what stops you from creating unique passwords, then password managers are your friends. Password managers auto-generate strong passwords and store them for your convenience. The program will save the passwords in a location that you can access only with a password. Instead of remembering multiple passwords, all you have to know is just that one master password. Both free and paid password managers are available online.
8. Update the passwords regularly
It is essential to change your passwords regularly, especially if you’re storing sensitive data. Even if you use a strong password, given enough time, a determined hacker will be able to crack it. So, change the passwords frequently and make each password different from the previous one.
9. Create strong passwords using password generators
Even with all these tips, creating an unbreakable password can be tricky. But, worry not! Password generators will save you the trouble of spending too much time creating strong passwords. While offline password generation tools are more secure, there are many trustworthy online options as well. Some of the most trusted and popular password generators include –
- Dashlane– An online and in-app Password Generator and Password Manager with a host of powerful features.
- NordPass– Free Password Generator and Password Manager with premium plans available.
- LastPass– Free Password Generator and Password Manager with premium plans available.
- Secure Password Generator– A free online tool with quick passwords for those who don’t need password management options.
Creating strong passwords is one of the pillars of safe internet browsing. These eight tips can help you build strong passwords and protect your information from malicious hackers. For any queries on cybersecurity reach out to us firstname.lastname@example.org or use our Contact Us page. Our team from Perth will be available round the clock to assist you with any digital queries.
Computing Australia is a member of The Computing Australia Group of Companies.
Cybersecurity: Cybersecurity refers to practices that protect systems, networks, and individuals from digital attacks.
Password Manager: An application that allows users to generate and store their passwords for online services.