How to Create a Secure Password ?
Secure passwords are necessary because there are lots of different websites that hold your personal information. Personal information is easy for attackers to find because you might use passwords that are easy to remember like birthdays, addresses, or names of children.
This is all information that a good investigator can find online or in public records. Other than being educated about identity theft and spyware, an obvious defense is having a good, easy to remember password that will be difficult to hack.
First, do not use any personal information as your password. Things like your pets name, or the date of birth of your child can be easy to find.
Avoid Actual Words in Passwords
Second, try not to use real words. Some hackers have the tools and ability to guess your password. It is easy to use a program and go through all the words in the dictionary to find a match.
Types of Secure Passwords
You should mix different character types if it is allowed on the website you are using. You can mix uppercase letters with numbers and if possible some special characters like ampersand or pound symbols.
Remembering Secure Passwords
It may be difficult to remember a password if it is made up of random letters and characters, so you may want to come up with what is called a passphrase. A passphrase is usually much longer than a password, 20-30 characters, however websites limit the length of a password.
The theory of a passphrase can still be used. It can be created using the first letter from each word in a phrase, a sentence, a song lyric, or line of a poem that you like and will remember. It should be long enough to be difficult to guess. Try to stray away from famous quotes and holy book phrases.
Then take the first letter of each word from that phrase.
Replacing Letters in Secure Passwords
Where you can, replace letters with numbers or other characters. You could switch out an L for an exclamation point or the number 1 and the letter a replaced with an ampersand. Use other standard shorthand for other words like the letter U instead of the word you. It might be a good idea to mix the cases. I used uppercase letters for Mr. Spock.
Now all you need to remember your password is that sentence or phrase. Every time you log in, you can think of that phrase. Passphrases are great because hackers won't find them in any dictionary, and its not obvious information about your life.
Keeping Passwords Secure
You should change your passwords every once in a while and do not reuse the same password for at least a year.
Photo credits: Pantea Marius.