The longer we use computers and the internet, the more passwords we seem to end up needing. While it might be easy to use the same password for everything, it’s much less safe to do that than it used to be.
Today’s hackers are clever and have several ways of finding out a password. If your password is the same on all your accounts, a hacker only needs to discover it once to compromise them all.
For these reasons it’s more important than ever to create a long and complex password for each of your accounts. But what makes a good password and how can you remember them all? Let’s find out.
What makes a strong password?
While different organisations and people have varying ideas on what makes a strong password, there seems to be consensus around the following points.
It has a minimum of 12 characters
There is no minimum length for passwords that everyone agrees on and most websites will only require you to put in a minimum of at least 6. However, it’s good practise to make your password between 12 to 14 characters in length.
Use a mix of numbers, capitalisation, symbols and lower case letters
This step is pretty self-explanatory. The more varied the mix of characters in your password the harder it will be to crack.
It isn’t a mix of dictionary words
Try not to rely on words that appear in the dictionary, even if you use multiple of them. For example, “dog” is a bad password. “Blue dog” is also a bad password.
Don’t use simple substitutions
You might think substituting letters with numbers is clever, but it isn’t much better for password security. For example, turning “blue dog” into “b1u3 d0g” is a pretty obvious substitution.
Make sure to meet all of these requirements for your password. A good example would be “@bluDog$165” although you can probably come up with something better if you spend the time.
Remembering the passwords
The truth is that the most secure passwords are the hardest to remember with a human brain. Ultimately the best choice is to use password managing software.
Password managing software can collect all of your passwords in a secure space. With this method you will only need to remember a single master password for the software.
You could always write you passwords down or keep them in a text document on your computer. The only problem with this is that if someone gains access to this list they will obviously have easy access to all of your passwords.
The best practise is to come up with random combinations of words that don’t make grammatical sense. This way you can more easily remember the password while it’s random enough that others can’t guess it.