One of the best and easiest ways to protect yourself online is to use a strong password. Your password may be the key to your business. The more complicated it is, the harder it becomes for people to force their way in.
Having a strong password and using multiple passwords for different accounts is widely recommended. It is also the first piece of advice that people tend to ignore.
Most hackers can count on their victims’ weak passwords for easy access. Strong passwords can be hard to remember. After going through the hassle of contacting server administrators due to a forgotten password (for the hundredth time), people tend to go back to easy-to-remember, familiar, and, therefore, weak passwords.
How do we make a strong password that is also easy to remember?
First things first. Here are some features to avoid.
- Patterns. Whether it is the first letters of your child’s name, your birthday, or your address, these kinds of password are easy to hack.
- Brevity. A strong password should have at least 12 characters.
- Uniformity. Your password should include numbers, symbols, and capital and lower-case letters. Confusing the enemy should be your guiding principle when creating a password.
- Substitutions. These, especially obvious ones, don’t improve the strength of your password. By using the password: “ raIN f0rest” you might think you’ve got a winner, but hackers are aware of typical password tricks and will work on breaking it from all angles.
Now that we’ve covered the don’ts, let’s learn how to create a strong password.
- Use random words. Using a random password will make it very hard to crack. It will also be difficult to remember though. If you happen to be one of those rare individuals with a photographic memory, you can stop reading now. Otherwise, consider the following points. Making a strong randomized password was never an issue.The issue is remembering it, and all the others. This is where mnemonics come in.
- Memory tricks. Here’s how to create and memorize a complex password without writing it down. One of the simplest tricks, and the most commonly used, is the Passphrase/ Diceware method.
Pick four random words. Make sure they are random. “The sky is blue” for example, doesn’t work for our purposes. Avoid logical or grammatically coherent choices. A good choice would be “seashell, house, garden, hobbit.” The words don’t really tie up but can be easily remembered by making a fantastical story using the words. For example: I went into a giant seashell the size of a house, inside it there was a strange garden and in the middle of the garden a hobbit”
- Add complexity. With your phrase memorized, add a layer of complexity by throwing in capital letters. For example, capitalize every third letter. Add a symbol of your choice at or toward the beginning of the first and last words, and presto, you got yourself a password that is stronger than most people’s, but that you can memorize, too.
We know that maintaining strong passwords is a hassle, but we also know that it’s better than picking up the pieces of a compromised system. Creating a proper password is worth the effort. It can save you time, money, and effort should things go wrong. Don’t hesitate to contact us for any additional advice or practical solutions for protecting your IT system, your business, your clients and your business partners.