The best password is difficult to remember. Nevertheless, some of the most commonly used passwords are ridiculously easy to guess, such as “password” or “123456”. Such passwords can make you a victim of spray passwords and other types of hacking. Don’t use them! Instead, create a strong password.
Even if you have a complex password, using one password for all of your online accounts is dangerous. Imagine a hacker who cracked this password . For added security, you should create a unique, hard-to-crack password for all of your accounts.
So, do you know how to create a good password? And how can you remember more than one of them? Here are some tips and tricks for keeping passwords strong for all of your online accounts.
READ ALSO: How To Check If Your Google Passwords Have Been Compromised
How to create a secure password
Since you should always remember at least one password, we will first explain how to manually create a secure password. Further down, we’ll also show you how to use a tool that can create nearly impenetrable passwords and remember them for you.
The characteristics of a secure password
Each password must meet the following criteria:
- You cannot find the password in a dictionary
- It contains special characters and numbers
- It contains a mix of upper and lower case letters
- It contains at least 10 characters
- It is difficult to guess based on user information, such as date of birth, zip code or phone number.
Note that some accounts do not allow you to use special characters. In this case, you should increase the length and make the password as abstract as possible. Likewise, if the password length is limited to 6 or 8 characters, be sure to cover as many other points as possible.
How to remember your password
Even if you use a password manager , at least you need to remember the master password for this tool. Now how do you do this while still meeting all of the above criteria? You start with something you can easily remember, a basic password. Then you apply logical rules to change your basic password to an almost unrecognizable name.
Create an easy-to-remember basic password
Your basic password can be based on a phrase, the name of a location, or a name and phone number. Now there are several techniques you can use to create a good, basic password that you won’t forget. Here are some suggestions:
- Randomly replace letters with numbers (for example, MakeUseOf bECOMES Mak3Us30f )
- Pick a sentence and reduce it to the first few letters of each word only (for example, the golden rule “Do to others what you want them to do to you” becomes Dtowywttdty )
- Take a word and invert it (for example, the technology bECOMES ygolonhcet )
The above examples are not particularly safe. Although you cannot find any of the resulting basic passwords in a dictionary, they still fail other characteristics of a secure password.
So make sure that your initial word or expression is long enough (minimum 10 characters) and combines all the above principles to introduce numbers, special characters and upper and lower case spellings. This is when you will have a secure basic password.
The basic password I’m going to use here is the golden rule phrase with the spelling, numbers and special characters from title break : D20wYWT7D2Y! (^_^)
Note that my basic password meets all of the above criteria. It cannot be found in a dictionary, it contains special characters, a mix of upper and lower case letters, it is 17 characters long and you cannot guess it from my personal information.
Use flexible rules for your password
A computer can calculate and recognize patterns much faster than the human brain. But humans are even more creative. This is your big advantage over hacking tools!
As you can see, in my password I replaced some letters with numbers or special characters. However, I did not use hard rules. I replaced the t by a 2 or one 7 . Using rules to replace characters, i.e. always replace a at by the symbol @ will weaken your password.
Here are some ideas on how to make your hack even harder to hack:
- Do not use common substitutions (e.g. @ for A or a)
- When you have recurring letters in your password, mix up your substitutions (e.g. 8 or (for B or b)
- Have a word and touch touch it type with your fingers in the location etpmh (“bad” moved to)
- Choose a pattern on your keyboard and type it using alternately the Shift key (for example, Xdr% 6tfCvgz /)
Create individual passwords for each account
Once you have a strong basic password, you can use it to create individual passwords for each of your online accounts. Just add the first three letters of the service, for example D20wYWT7D2Y! (^_^) GMa for your GMail account or D20wYWT7D2Y! (^ _ ^) eBa for eBay.
Note that although this type of password is difficult to resolve on your own, it is easy to understand. If your custom base password is leaked, you will need to change all passwords to match it, before anyone finds out your system.
Use a password manager
Now that you have created a secure basic password, use it as the master password for your password manager. You can also use it whenever you need to create a password on the spot, without having access to your password manager. For everything else, use the best password manager for your needs to create and store your ultra-secure and unique passwords. (Here are some types of password managers among which you can choose.)
The password manager can also tell you how tough and therefore secure your passwords are. You can even use it to test the difficulty of your basic password.
I use LastPass , a free cross-platform password manager. LastPass comes with a feature called Generate a secure password . Note how in the screenshot below there is a full green bar below the password? It means it’s a strong password. A password that is too short and / or too simple would give you a much shorter bar colored red or orange.
Once you start using a password manager, you’ll find that it can do a lot more than just create and store passwords.
Update passwords regularly
This is the hardest part. To maintain security with a strong password, you should update it every few weeks or every month. The more often the better. You can do this in different ways. Here are some ideas that will be kept simple.
Change only your basic password
- Change any special character substitutions you use.
- Reverse use of upper and lower case letters.
- Type the password with Shift Lock enabled.
Change the entire password
- Change the way you identify the account you are using (for example, use the last three letters rather than the first three, so that GMa become all and eBa become Bay )
- Change the position of the letters identifying the account (for example, put them at the beginning or in the middle of your basic password)
- Add the date of the last password change on the back and mark it in your calendar
In other words, use your human advantage: be creative and think outside the box. And use a password manager to reduce the number of passwords you have to change manually.
SEE ALSO: How To Find Long Lost Passwords Hidden In Your Browser
Strong passwords everywhere
We’ve shown you how to create a secure, easy-to-remember password. We also explained why password managers help you keep your accounts secure. Now it’s your turn to put this knowledge into practice. How do you generate strong passwords? Did you use a online password generator ? Have you ever had an account hacked because the password was weak?