Three Keys To Choosing The Most Secure Passwords

It seems amazing what our passwords protect. From our accounts to social media accounts where our internet personas share interests and opinions with people we will never physically meet, to our vital information that gain us access to our life savings and even proof of citizenship. It seems almost like a science fiction story; villains sitting behind glowing boxes using sophisticated methods to guess the “open sesame” to our lives.

And the plot twist is that many of them are actually opensesame, password1, or 1234. I wonder if such easy gets feel somewhat disappointing to these cyber villains. Regardless, it’s a good idea to make your password as difficult to crack as possible. Here are a few tips on how to do that.

  1. Make your password as long and as complicated as possible

    The longer the password, the more difficult it is to guess of find by trying all possible combinations (i.e. a brute force attack). Passwords that are 14 characters or more are decisively more difficult to crack. In those 14 or more characters, include numbers, punctuation marks, symbols, and upper and lower-case letters. In fact, consider using a passphrase. A passphrase is a string of words, rather than a single word. Unlikely combinations of words can be hard to guess. And if you speak another language, it’s best to make your password a bilingual passphrase since at the moment hackers are using one dictionary at a time. A bilingual passphrase with characters and such would be nearly impenetrable.

  2. Don’t use personal information

    Your name, birthday, name of your partner or child, and even your phone number or address, are all information that are easily known and if you use them in any combination as a password, they are easy to crack. It’s good practice not to use the username or account as your password, as that is at the top of the cracking protocol. Additionally, be sure to use different passwords for each account. This way, if a hacker cracks one of your passwords, at least only one account has been compromised.

  3. Keep your passwords close to the chest 

    Do everything in your power to memorize your passwords and write them down. There are some good free programs available that will help you manage your passwords. But with a well-chosen paraphrase, it should be easy to remember. Don’t tell anyone your password, of course, and if you receive a request to confirm your password, no matter how legitimate it appears, you should never disclose your password. That’s a common phishing scam. And lastly, don’t enter your password on a public computer, like in a hotel or internet café, as such computers may not be secure and have keystroke loggers installed.

With these three key points, creating a secure password should be a bit simpler to do and your personal and social data is that much more secure. The key is to use all of these points at once. If you make a long, complicated password and have it taped to your computer monitor, it’s no longer secure. If you make a long, complicated password, and keep it to yourself, but the password it your full name and birthday, get ready to lose your identity. Remember to use all three key points and you’ll keep those hackers frustrated and out of your vital data.


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