What Makes a Password Secure? The 6 Step Method to Create a Secure Password.
With cyber-attacks happening more and more frequently password security is one of the easiest things that you can control in the war against hacking. Selecting a password that is secure does not have to be complicated if you follow these simple steps.
If you still think that hackers are 20 people crammed into a dark room living off caffeine and working all night, think again. Primarily hackers use technology that can potentially guess 350 billion passwords per second!
- Increase the length
Passwords should be a minimum of 10 characters in length. As a rule, the longer a password, and the more complex, the more secure it is. Passwords that are 3 characters or less take less than one second to hack and if you are still using 1234 as your password, that can get hacked instantly. Other simple and easy to hack passwords include single dictionary words or common phrases like ‘mypassword’.
- Do not use personal details
If the hackers have your username or email, chances are they can find out personal details relatively easily, especially if you have social media accounts with low privacy settings. Think your birthday or street address is safe? Think again. It is better to use random phrases (think four or more words) or a series of unrelated words, or even better still go to step number 3.
- Substitute letters with special characters
Have a phrase that you love? Why not add another layer of security by swapping out some of the letters with special characters? Gone are the days when adding special characters onto the end of a word count for much, especially if the special characters are ‘1!’. Lets use the phrase ‘Hang in there’ as an example: H@ng!n7h3r3 or ‘A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush’: @B!th!W2!tB
- Use different passwords for different accounts
If a hacker does get through one of your passwords it makes all the accounts using that same password vulnerable. A simple way to memories different passphrases for different accounts is to change a few characters in the phrase to represent the account you are trying to access. For example lets take a passphrase like H@ng!n7h3r3. You can modify this passphrase in a way that’s easy to remember for all your accounts. H@ng!n7h3r3Fb could be used for Facebook as it will be easy to remember the Fb at the end. Another example is H@ng!n7h3r3Nf for Netflix. This is a great way to remember multiple passphrases for different accounts while still ensuring they are complex. If that sounds like an insane memory test though you can use a password manager to save your passwords. These are encrypted applications where you can quickly retrieve login details and other important information by remembering one complex passphrase to access the password manager. It is best not to write down passwords or use a word document because if someone does hack your computer then they will have access to everything.
- Avoid using passwords that have previously been stolen
Hackers can easily use previously stolen passwords. You can check if yours is among those previously hacked here.
- Stick with a complex password so long as it is safe
There was a phase for a while that changing your password every 60 or 90 days helps to keep it safe, but now that is going out of style as people tend to fall back into old habits of choosing easier to remember, simple passwords when required to frequently change them. However, if you suspect that your account has been tampered with or your password has been stolen, change it immediately.
And after all of that here are five ways to keep your password safe.