Today you need a password or pin for pretty much every account you set up online. But how do you create a memorable password that is tough enough that cyber criminals won’t crack? To help you produce the perfect password and to keep them safe, we’ve put together our top tips.
Create the perfect password
We know how hard it is to create and remember passwords. Coming up with an idea for a password is enough to give anyone a headache. So, where do you start? Here are some great ways to create a strong password.
Avoid the obvious
Under pressure it’s easy to resort to family names, important dates or memorable passwords. But you shouldn’t. Here’s the thing, hackers spend time getting to know you and your habits. Which means your favourite sport, username, family names or important dates are off limits. Popular passwords like 123456, password, qwerty, abc123 and iloveyou, while easy to remember, are weak and straight forward for hackers to break. You should also avoid words straight from the dictionary, Bible or any foreign languages.
Separate numbers and symbols
You may think putting a symbol and number together will make your password stronger. Wrong! Hackers love it when passwords have symbols and numbers together, it’s just another part of the puzzle for them to figure out. Hackers just love getting to know you! Which is why we recommend that you never use an important date or house number in your password. Furthermore, keep numbers and symbols separate.
Keep your characters varied
When creating your password, it’s important not to follow a pattern or use the same characters. Choosing a symbol that looks like a letter or number is a definite ‘No, No’! If you are going to use a character or number use different ones randomly.
The longer the better
Complex passwords are best. It goes without saying that the longer the password the longer it will take to decipher. We recommend a minimum of 8 characters that should include 1 upper case, 1 lower case and 1 symbol. However, always read any advice given when you register an account as security levels vary.
Narrow it down
Find a topic that you find easy to remember whether it’s jokes, facts or a quote from a favourite book, tv show, play or movie. Don’t go for anything too obvious or that you use all the time as this will only help hackers. Once you have chosen your topic build your password by either adding a few numbers, symbols or the first letter of each word. For example, use the quote ‘You’re gonna need a bigger boat’; take the first letter of each word, then add numbers, symbols with upper and lower case letters to create a password like: 7YagnBb$.
Secure those passwords
It makes sense but how many of us actually do this. Let’s be clear no password is safe. If you’re the target cyber criminals are going to do what needs to be done to get your passwords. However, you can make it harder for them by making a few simple changes.
Don’t share your password
Yes, it’s pretty obvious. Sharing passwords verbally or leaving them on post-it notes in full view are both frowned upon. It only takes the wrong person to overhear your conversation or find your post-it note. You may also think that folder on your pc is safe, but don’t be fooled. A piece of malware could evade your security protocols and access your passwords or even worse destroy them. If you must store them in a file or on a piece of paper make sure you secure them.
Ditch the weak
As we move into a digitally dominated world it’s time to weed out those weak passwords. It’s more than likely you have few online accounts that you set up in a rush that have inferior passwords. Make some time to go through and strengthen them.
Repetition and deviation
We’re all guilty of this! You may think it is easier to change the numbers or characters rather than come up a whole new password. But when it comes to the security of your passwords, you should care. If your passwords are too similar, once a hacker cracks one, it will only take them minutes to figure out the others.
Make it harder for cyber criminals to get to your passwords. Multi factor or two-factor authentication gives you another line of defence. Biometrics such as facial, iris, fingerprint or voice recognition all make it harder for hackers to get the information they want. It also gives you time to change your passwords and take control of your password protection when there is a potential threat.
Get into the habit of changing your passwords. We recommend you change them every 90 days. If you replace passwords too frequently you may find your password strength diminishes, along with any good password security practices.
Be in the know
If you go straight to the entertainment pages on your chosen news site, then you need to get more tech savvy. Instead, search for the latest data breaches, password security issues or new ransomware attacks and keep ahead in the cyber security wars. Remain aware of any new phishing email scams and make sure you alert your colleague to them. By taking preventative action you can reduce the risk of becoming the target.
Secure your passwords
If like many you struggle to remember passwords then consider using a ‘Password Manager’. You may think it unwise to keep all your passwords in one place. However, you can be rest assured they are safer than that piece of paper you have them written in. Why? Password Managers don’t just keep your passwords safe they also help generate secure passwords, among other things. It goes without saying that your master password needs to be strong and should include some form of two-factor authentication. Whether it be biometrics, SMS or email-based, or some other form of authentication.
Find the time
We know changing habits isn’t easy, but we hope that our tips have encouraged you to change the way you create and store your passwords. So why stop there? Cyber criminals don’t! Our range of security solutions will keep your IT network secure.