Passwords are a necessary evil that we need to keep our online accounts safe. Sad to say, creating a good one isn’t that easy.
Why Make Strong Passwords?
Like most people, you probably have easy-to-remember passwords that make it a breeze to login. Although these passwords are great from a convenience standpoint, they aren’t safe enough to ensure you won’t get victimized by hackers and other malicious entities.
Troublemakers use a variety of methods to get your accounts. Here are a few examples:
1. Typing In Common Passwords
Countless people use passwords like 1234 or the word “password” itself. Hackers know this and always attempt to log into your account with the most common passwords. Thus, you must always come up with something unique that no one else could deduce.
2. Password Recycling
More often than not, people use the same logins for different accounts. This makes it easy for cybercriminals to access an individual’s other accounts once they have gained the password and email address for one. Because of that, you should never recycle passwords.
3. Brute Force Attacks
Any private information involved in a data breach can be decrypted by hackers using brute force attacks. Using advanced yet readily-available software, it’s possible to go through every password imaginable until the right one is detected.
Ways To Create Strong Passwords
There are many ways to create strong passwords. We’ve rounded up the most useful ones here.
1. Make It Long
For starters, you should always make your passwords long. While doing so will make it harder to type, it’ll also make them much safer. Strive to go beyond ten characters but also avoid coming up with something too excessive.
2. Mix capital letters, small letters, numbers, and symbols
All of the best passwords jumble up numbers, symbols, capital, and small letters. You must come up with something extremely difficult to type without practice. By doing this, you’ll be able to strengthen your password tenfold.
3. Don't use dictionary words
Don’t incorporate words that can easily be found in a dictionary in your password. Instead, try to use personal jargon or acronyms. Also, you may invent new words altogether. However, the password you create might be rather difficult to remember.
4. Avoid obvious substitutions
Never settle for obvious substitutions. If “automobile” doesn’t make the cut, don’t replace it with “aUt0mObiLe” because this makes your password vulnerable to brute force attacks.
I highly recommend that you check out a thesaurus. There, you’ll be able to find a wide array of substitutes for common words that you may think of. Remember, the exact meaning of your replacement doesn’t have to be the same, only the gist of it.
5. Security questions shouldn't be obvious
Security questions exist for a reason. Rather than hurriedly filling them in during the registration process, ponder hard on what you’ll have a website ask you. Believe me, you won’t have any regrets after doing this, especially once you’ve forgotten your password.
Remembering your answers is easier said than done. Even the simplest of questions can be quite challenging to recall.
For that reason, it’s best to pick a question that’s near and dear to your heart. Prime examples of which include “what was the name of your first pet?” or “who’s your favorite elementary school teacher?”. Keep in mind that the more intimate the question, the better.
6. Use a password manager
Almost every modern website requires you to register to utilize all features offered. Because of this, it’s necessary to remember countless passwords. Unfortunately, this is an impossible feat to achieve. Therefore, it is essential to utilize a password manager.
Password managers make logging into online accounts easy. They store all of your logins in a secure server and oftentimes automatically fill them in. Some even get in sync with multiple devices to provide you with convenience on all the platforms you use.
What’s awesome is that most password managers are free. However, the ones worth using are not. Be that as it may, you won’t need to shell out a large amount of cash. For a minimum amount, you’re sure to be getting a great deal without breaking your budget.
Some of the best password managers are:
Please keep in mind that the rudimentary password managers of browsers like Chrome are not completely safe. Why? They’re operated by companies that are known to invade the privacy of their users for profit. Thus, it is essential to do your research and settle on nothing but the best since online security should never be skimped on.
7. Use a random password generator
One of the easiest ways to create a strong password is to use a password generator. Though you won’t be getting a password that’s easier to remember, it’ll be more secure. Besides that, there’ll be no need to get creative as the tool will do everything for you.
While some password managers already have a built-in generator, most don’t. Hence, you’ll most likely need to use separate software. Thankfully, there’s no need for downloading since lots of free-to-use web-based options are available. Some of which are even tailor-made for children who are only starting to use the internet.
8. Use multi-factor authentication
Multi-factor authentication is a method of digital verification wherein computer users are only granted entry into a website or application after presenting two pieces of authentication. It’s employed by nearly every modern app and website.
The most common pieces of identification required are passwords and email addresses. But, it isn’t rare for fingerprints, security questions, or hand gestures to be required.
Accounts that require multi-factor authentication are more secure than those that don’t. This is not surprising as hackers often have a harder time deducing multiple verifications. Of course, they know this, which is why they’ve developed various workarounds.
9. Use authenticator app
Having a strong password is only the first step in keeping your accounts secure. It’s best to use an authenticator app like Google and Microsoft Authenticator. These applications send you a one-time SMS verification code that you type on your device to log in to your account.
Authenticator apps are often free and light on memory. Because of that, anyone can download and use them. If anything, there’s no reason not to.
10. Do not email or text your password
Lots of people email or text their passwords to others or themselves. Never do this, as it’ll open up an avenue for others to view them and compromise your accounts. While this tip may seem obvious, many seem to forget it then get hacked as a result.
Putting It All Together
Now that you know how to create a strong password, nothing is stopping you from making sure you’re protected from hackers. By following everything stated above, you’re sure to never have your various online accounts compromised.
Don’t forget that having a good password is not enough to remain 100% safeguarded online. It’s also important to employ many other precautions. For a more comprehensive understanding of the subject, please refer to our Online Privacy Guide.