How do you know if you have a good, strong, and secure password? If coming up with one password doesn’t produce enough anxiety, then on top of it you add that it has to be strong, unique, and memorable! Almost every website seems to require one these days (So now make 100 different passwords!). It’s a lot to keep track of and you might be a teeny bit tempted to tap out and just use something easy like the word ‘password’ (which is shockingly common, and one of the first things a hacker tries) or simply use the same password everywhere. DON’T.
If someone (not you, of course) uses the same password to log in to that fun blog about landscaping ideas as the one they use to log into their bank, they put themselves at a huge risk of being hacked. They should know it takes the average, run-of-the-mill hacker a matter of minutes to break into a lower security account (like the landscape blog) and get password information. If a hacker has that password, how far could they go in your digital world?
But you can make it harder for hackers to figure out your password on any account and create unique passwords for every account that are secure and easy for you to remember.
Here are 4 easy steps to creating a better password right now:
1) Create a password that is at least 8 characters long
It should be a mix of uppercase and lowercase letters, and has a special character like: ! @ # $ ^ * or %, in the middle. Pretty much any character you might find on the top of any keyboard.
Just adding an uppercase letter to a password can change how long it takes a hacker to figure out a 6-character password from five minutes to eight days. Most hackers are looking for the easy, low-hanging fruit. So, don’t be that fruit.
2) Make the password unique
Be sure you don’t use words that are easily found when they are run through a dictionary. Don’t use names. Nope, not even your dog’s name. Don’t use common Bible verses (John316) or a famous line from a poem (Tobeornottobe). Hackers try these phrases all the time. They aren’t unique enough to be safe.
3) Use a string of letters and characters that are easy for you to recall, but nonsense to a hacker
The longer the better. If we take the example phrase, ‘Tobeornottobe’ (which is nice and long, but contains real words) and transform it with some uppercase letters and numbers to: t0b3orNot2bE, it goes from being cracked in 8 years to 10,000 years. Throw in a special character like ‘!’ on the end and it would take a hacker 11 million years to crack it.
Hopefully you know you shouldn’t use it now because we just published it on the web, but we have faith you will think of a good, personal phrase to use. Try the first letter of each word in a line from your favorite poem, verse, book, song or movie.
4) Modify and repeat
Once you have a solid password (see the link below to check your password’s strength), use it as the root to create unique passwords for each and every website login you have. I know it sounds overwhelming, but let me show you a little trick: make one pattern and stick with it for every website. For example, use the website address name as the unique element you add to your base password in the same way on every site.
First, take your base password (I’ll call it ‘base’, though you know it would be a terrible password). Next, find the first 3 letters of the website name. For your Google account, you would have the base password you use everywhere + goo, to be ‘basegoo’. For Facebook, you would have, ‘basefac’. This will create a unique, hard to crack password for every account you have AND one that you can remember!
Think you have a strong password? Give it a try on our completely safe password checker. Try combinations until you find one you can remember and a hacker won’t likely bother with.
Don’t be the low-hanging fruit.