‘Please select a new password’ is a prompt guaranteed to terrify even the most experienced of internet users.
Every site has a different set of requirements, asking for everything from one capital letter and one number to symbols and special characters.
Creating a password is getting harder by the day, for one very good reason – to protect your information. However, there are some simple tricks and tips you can follow to create and manage strong passwords that will keep you safe from the scourge of cybercriminals.
What should you consider to create strong passwords?
It seems that every day there’s a new story about identity theft or some kind of data breach. That is why many online services are really trying to make sure their users create safer and stronger passwords to keep hackers from accessing their information.
Here are a few things you should consider about passwords:
- The weaker your password, the easier it is to get hacked. Are you tempted to use easy-to-remember dates, like your birthday? Well, consider how easy it would be to look you up on Facebook and get your birthday information. Getting that information helps programs that run massive databases for common passwords and makes you more of an easy target.
- Patterns may make sense, but they are not safe. If you use ascending or decreasing numbers or consecutive letters it’s easier for a system or person to crack your password.
- Sharing is caring, but… Sharing your password with a friend, colleague or someone else, can put your information in danger. In either case, is better not to share your passwords with anyone. But if you do so, make sure that you change it right after the person uses it.
- You need a password for everything these days. Think about it, you need a password for website logins, apps, social media accounts, bank accounts, paying your bills online, accessing your computer and even turning on your phone. Creating them wisely would help keep your information safe.
How creative can you get as you create strong passwords?
When crafting a new password, consider it your moment to shine and be as creative as you want to be … and maybe even have some fun. Take a look at these tips to help you create strong passwords.
- Go the long way to create your password. When you have a long password with a combination of elements, it’s much harder to hack your accounts. Having 12 to 15 characters is best.
- Combine numbers and symbols. You can even exchange letters with numbers or symbols if you want to, because when the machines try to look for random combinations it’s harder to decipher words made up with symbols.
- Use emojis. When your information is safe, you are probably really happy. Adding a smiley face — or another emoji you can create with symbols, letters and numbers — is a fun way to create strong passwords.
- Try to add capital and lower-case letters. Mixing upper and lower cases also makes it harder to guess your password and keeps your information more secure.
- Make up weird sentences. Choose your favorite color, word, food, and place you really want to go. Adding things that are really easy for you to remember —but not for everybody else to know — makes your password safer.
- Don’t reuse a password in different accounts. We know it’s tempting and an easier way to remember all of your accounts. But it also becomes an effortless way for someone else to log into all of them. It’s better if you add something particular to each of your accounts.
So, if you were to apply all the above tips, based on each platform, your passwords might look something like this:
Online shopping password: Purp1eThunder:)Buy!ng
Social media account: Purp1eThunder:)OldFr!3nds
We could keep going with examples, but wanted to share just a few ideas on how to put these tips into practice and create strong passwords.
Need a little help managing your new passwords?
Now that you have some tips to create strong passwords, you may have some concerns over how to remember them. Never fear! You can use a password manager. What these programs do is they unify your data security. Having to remember a lot of passwords can be hard, so get your devices to remember them for you.
The browser you use might have an option to save your passwords, but most of the time these are really easy to hack (especially if you lose your phone or have it stolen), so it’s better to use a password manager in order to keep them safe.
There are plenty of options to choose from, but here are some of the top password managers:
- LastPass – Works in Windows, Mac, Linux and Chrome. They have a free, basic version and a premium one with more features. Basically, every browser that you use, it can save the login credentials from all of them.
- Dashlane – Works in Windows, MAC, iOS and Android. This is an easy to use app that also integrates every web browser. The free version lets you access basic features as well, but if you want to sync your passwords between devices you will need to upgrade your account to a premium one.
- 1Password – Works in Windows, MAC, iOS and Android. This one features a password generator and also allows you to securely save your logins and credit card information. It’s a one-time purchase that lets you sync everything locally.
If you plan to use any of these password managers, you can put into practice all you’ve learned about how to create strong passwords and craft yourself one master password to rule them all.
For more tips and insights on technology, be sure to check with our experts here on our resource center!