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Tips on How to Create and Remember Strong Passwords

May 25, 2016 | By Editor 

A strong password is one of the vital parameters in regards to internet and data security. So, how do we create strong passwords? Or, to put it more precisely, how do we create and then remember strong passwords?

There was a time when we would opt for passwords that were easy to remember, and several of us used a combination of names and dates (like date of birth). Times were simpler; security was not as much of a bigger issue back then as much as hacking is now. And even when a breach happened, it wasn’t of devastating magnanimity and would barely catch people’s attention. But we have come a long way since then. Nowadays we depend a lot on carrying out financial transactions online in order to carry on with our daily routines. We have to create, manage, and remember passwords for many accounts – for emails, for online banking, for online ticket booking websites etc. We also tend to save login details, or “remember me” function in order to access our accounts without having to invest our thoughts everytime and to save time. But getting hacked nowadays can have much tragic consequences – can you imagine being locked out of your online banking account because someone else changed your password? It’s unthinkable, but at the same time, it’s likely that it can happen.

Passwords are the first wall of defense in our attempt to guard personal data. However, they need to be consolidated because securing your online accounts with weak passwords is like bolting your house with something as fragile as a twig. While strong passwords don’t guarantee complete protection against cyber attacks, it complicates their jobs and most likely demoralize them from trying further. Strong passwords doesn’t mean that they have to be difficult to memorize, because we can still come up with a combination of alphabets, numbers and special characters to create passwords and passphrases that are unique and easy for us to remember. In addition, other security measures like turning on firewall settings, having a good antivirus software etc. work in harmony with strong passwords to protect your information from being stolen.

So, how do we create and remember strong passwords? Let’s first take a look at what all is needed for a password to be ‘strong’.

1. Pay attention to the length of the password
A strong password is supposed to be at least 8 characters long. But if you ask experts, they would advise you to go for passwords with at least 12 to 14 characters. This would indeed make your passwords stronger and more challenging.

2. Mix letters, numbers, characters
A strong password would be a mix of letters (capital ones as well as small ones), numbers and non- alphanumerical characters. If you really capitalize one or more alphabets in the password, it would be almost impossible to hack your password, because only you would be able to remember where you have capitalized. A mix of capital alphabets+ small alphabets and non-alphanumerical characters and numbers would be real difficult to crack.

3. Avoid Names and Other Personal Information
Using your name or the name of your spouse or kid is not advisable. It would be easy for a person familiar to you to figure that out. You should in fact not even use the name of your company; it too is guessable.

4. Don’t use dictionary words
Don’t use dictionary words, especially easy-to-remember ones. They could be cracked very easily.

5. Try coining your own acronyms
Coin your own acronyms for making passwords. This would make the passwords strong. Advisable would be clubbing together the first letters of the words of some famous song or children’s rhyme and add these with numbers and characters to form a unique and at the same time strong password.

6. Never use the word ‘password’ as password
Never use the word ‘password’ as password, as this is the most easily hackable password.

7. Avoid using date of birth and anniversary dates
We often tend to add date of birth or anniversary dates with passwords; but that could be found out while trying to hack accounts.

Additional tip- This is not about creating strong passwords, but about password safety. It’s always good not to have the same password for all websites. That would mean that if one is hacked all the others too would be hacked.

So now, over to the next thing. How to make sure you remember the strong passwords that you have created? Or rather, how to make passwords that are easy-to-remember and at the same time strong? Here are some hints.

Don’t use names, but use the ones that perhaps you only know
It’s advisable not to use your name or the names of your family members in passwords. But at the same time, you could use names or pet names that perhaps only you or your spouse know. You could also use the name of your favorite teacher, favorite movie etc, which won’t be that easy to crack.

Coin funny acronyms, which you can remember easily
Coin funny acronyms by clubbing together the first letters of some funny or romantic song that you like, or which you and your spouse like.

Use dates that only you remember
There could be dates that only you remember, unlike your date of birth or anniversary date. The date on which you first met your sweetheart, the date on which you got your new job etc.

Capitalize randomly, with hints in mind
Capitalize randomly, ie, not just the first letter or any one letter, but perhaps two or more. Have in your mind clear hints as to why you capitalized that alphabet. That could be the first letter of your child’s name or spouse’s name or pet name. No one would be able to guess that out that easily.

Form mixes that only you can know and remember
Form mixes that only you can know and at the same time remember, like by clubbing together two parts of two different names. For example you could add the first name of your wife and the surname of the actress or singer whom she resembles at least distantly.

REMEMBER– It won’t be advisable to just follow any one of these tips alone. Follow all, like go for a mix of alphabets, numbers, special characters plus name(s) only you remember plus dates that only you remember plus capitalizing only those letters that you can remember well etc in one single password.

Well, there are just some tips for security, which you could try out along with ensuring good firewall protection, effective antivirus software etc. You could also devise your own techniques for creating and remembering strong passwords. But just make sure that they are really ‘strong’…

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