When was the last time you changed your password?
Here are some tips on how to create strong passwords - and remember them!
What is a strong password?
Many passwords today consist of a few words or names, these passwords are weak because they can easily be broken with glossaries. Writing the word backwards or with special characters makes it harder for a person to figure it out, but it is still relatively easy for a computer to break.
A strong password is long, varied and unpredictable. It should preferably consist of more than 18 characters and contain both uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers and special characters.
A good password seems completely irrational and can not be pronounced.
10 common passwords
Google regularly reports on the most common and thus weakest password types. If you use any of the following, it’s time to rethink:
- Name of a pet
- An important date, such as a wedding day
- A family member’s birthday
- Children’s name
- Another family member’s name
- Place of birth
- Favorite holiday
- Anything linked to your favorite team
- Name of your partner
- The word “password”
How to do to remember a password longer than a few words then? Here are some tips and tricks.
Make a sentence
Write a long sentence that can not be linked to you. For example, “Emran & Maria went to the cinema 12 times last year!”.
Use the first letter
Choose a sentence and use the first letter of each word. For example, “Martin and Eric flew through Belgium, France and Spain when they were 21 years old.” Which becomes “M & EftB, F & Swtw21yo.”
Write a sentence without vowels
Don’t forget to use numbers and special characters.
A password key makes it easier to have different passwords on all kinds of accounts. Start with something like a domain name, and use it to create a combination of characters that seem completely random.
If we start with, for example, Facebook, we would be able to create a key like this:
- The second letter of the domain name: a
- Number of characters in total plus three: 11
- 3rd letter in capital letters: C
- A predetermined combination of characters: @ 95B =
- Last letter twice: kk
- A predetermined character:%
The password for Facebook will then be “a11C@95Bkk%”. The same key can be used to create passwords elsewhere, and you only need to remember the key.
Apps and password managers
If you have many different passwords, it can be hard to remember all of them. Then you can use a password manager to store all the passwords in one place. Some examples of password managers are Keeper, 1Password and my personal favorite LastPass. With them you can generate strong passwords and store them in a vault. The vault is protected with your main password.
With a password manager, you only need to remember one single password.
The advantage of these is that you can have unlimited passwords that you don’t need to remember. The downside is that it may be har to type on your mobile or tablet, and if someone enters your main password, they can log in to all your saved accounts.
More articles about passwords and security
- How secure is my password? by Dashlane Password Manager