The average person needs to remember 10 online passwords a day. This number only counts the PINs and passwords that we are forced to remember on a daily basis and not the myriad of passwords we have created for the countless accounts that we use throughout our lifetime. It comes as no surprise that it gets difficult remembering all of these passwords and, as a result, we use the same short and simple passwords for multiple accounts. This becomes problematic as hackers have very little difficulty cracking these passwords, accessing our accounts and gathering our information. Creating secure passwords that prevent hackers from accessing your accounts and information, then, is of the utmost importance in protecting your information.
Many people stick with their common, simple, and easy to crack passwords because they believe a secure password will be too long, complex, and difficult to remember. That does not have to be the case! Here are some tips for creating a password that is meaningful and easy to remember while still being secure:
- Lengthen your password For example, a password like Boston could be cracked in a matter of seconds while a password like CityOfBoston would take far longer.
- Add special characters. This is a requirement for many logins, but it largely decreases the ease of cracking a password. It would take a desktop PC more than a million years to crack a password like CityOfBoston617!
- Another easy and memorable way to incorporate special characters is to replace existing letters with numbers or characters. For example, CityOfBoston could become City0fB0$ 0n.
- Spell your password backwards. This alone will not create a secure password, but it enhances security while keeping the password simple. For example, taking a password like CityOfBoston! and changing it to !notsoBfOytiC makes it harder to guess or crack.
- Create acronyms for things that are meaningful to you using song lyrics, names, passages from books -- whatever you choose! Instead of using common words, names, or dates, which are all relatively simple to crack, try creating an acronym for something meaningful to you. Again, this alone will not create the most secure password, but it can help in building the best possible password. For example, if your favorite book is Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, use an acronym like HPATOOTP. To make it stronger, try mixing capital letters with lower case letters and special characters.
- Combine Strategies Mix and match the strategies listed above or any others you may know to create the best possible password.
- If you are curious about the strength of your passwords at any point, there are plenty of resources that exist that can tell you just how secure yours are. Try entering your password here to test how long it would take a desktop PC to crack it, or here to see how quickly it would be guessed.