Tips to Create a Strong and Secure Password

March 31st, 2014 by Rossy Guide

Passwords provide the first line of defense against unauthorized access to your computer. The stronger your password, the more protected your computer will be from hackers and malicious software. You should make sure you have strong passwords for all accounts on your computer. If you’re using a corporate network, your network administrator might require you to use a strong password.

To create a strong and secure password that is easy for you to remember, follow these simple steps:


1. Do not use personal information:

You should never use personal information as a part of your password. It is very easy for someone to guess things like your last name, pet’s name, child’s birth date and other similar details.


2. Mix different character types:

You can make a password much more secure by mixing different types of characters. Use some uppercase letters along with lowercase letters, numbers and even special characters such as ‘&’ or ‘%’.


3. Have eight or more characters:

Longer passwords are more secure.


4. Avoid sequences or repeated characters:

Examples: 12345678, 222222, abcdefg, or adjacent characters on your keyboard (QWERTY).


5. Use a password management tool:

Another way to store and remember passwords securely is to use some sort of password management tool. These tools maintain a list of usernames and passwords in encrypted form. Some will even automatically fill in the username and password information on sites and applications.


6. Use different passwords:

You should use a different username and password for each login or application you are trying to protect. That way if one gets compromised the others are still safe. Another approach which is less secure, but provides a fair tradeoff between security and convenience, is to use one username and password for sites and applications that don’t need the extra security, but use unique usernames and more secure passwords on sites such as your bank or credit card companies.


7. Change your passwords:

You should change your password at least every 30 to 60 days. You should also not re-use a password for at least a year.


8. Enforce stronger passwords:

Rather than relying on every user of the computer to understand and follow the instructions above, you can configure Microsoft Windows password policies so that Windows will not accept passwords that don’t meet the minimum requirements.


9. Be different than your password for other sites:

Otherwise, if someone acquires that one password, they could use it to access your accounts with other sites.


10. Use a passphrase:

Rather than trying to remember a password created using various character types which is also not a word from the dictionary, you can use a passphrase. Think up a sentence or a line from a song or poem that you like and create a password using the first letter from each word.

For example, rather than just having a password like ‘yr$1Hes’, you could take a sentence such as “I like to read the Internet / Network Security web site” and convert it to a password like ‘il2rtA!nsws”. By substituting the number ‘2’ for the word ‘to’ and using an exclamation point in place of the ‘i’ for ‘Internet’, you can use a variety of character types and create a secure password that is hard to crack, but much easier for you to remember.

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