Even though we have all been told that strong passwords are essential to keep our data safe online, we have also all made one or two passwords that just aren’t the best. From favored family member names to birthdates, most people have made common errors when creating their online passwords before.
The best way to make sure your password is secure is to know what makes a password hard to hack. What are strong password requirements, and how can you easily incorporate the requirements into your passwords?
Today, it’s time to up your Internet security by ensuring you know how to protect yourself online with stronger passwords.
What’s in a Strong Password?
To be able to create strong passwords that will keep your information safe, you need to know what components are important to a strong password. The strongest passwords are long phrases that are very complex and, thus, difficult to crack. A password that is easy to guess or figure out just by knowing someone is not a good password, but people commonly choose these types of passwords.
When you want to create a strong password, you should make sure you are taking all of the following into consideration:
- Between eight and 64 characters, depending on the allowed length
- Contain at least three, but preferably all, of the following:
- Uppercase letter
- Lowercase letter
- Special character (such as ?!,@)
- Not contain your name, common words, or easily identifiable personal information, such as your pet’s name or birthdate
- Not be one of the previous passwords you used on this site or any other site
- Not be a similar variation of a previous password (such as changing the password willow to the password willow!)
By following these rules, you’ll be on the right path to creating a strong password. The goal of following these types of rules is to prevent a hacker from using a brute force attack to guess the password at random through specialized computer programs. These programs can guess simple strings of letters and numbers very quickly, so using long, complex phrases can protect you.
How to Create a Strong Password
Remembering to do all of these things each time you create a password can be overwhelming. What can you do to make the process of making a strong password a little bit easier?
Tip #1: Use A Password Generator
The rules of creating a strong password are complex, but thankfully, there are ways you can get help to create this kind of password quickly. There are many websites that can help you create a random, strong password by simply clicking “Generate a Strong Password.” Some browsers, like Chrome, even have this type of option built into the browser so that you can easily use it when creating a new account.
When using a password generator, it can be a good idea to still change out two or three of the characters. There is no reason to think that the generators would not give you a random password, but there is no harm in being extra cautious.
Password managers are a common way to create and keep strong passwords in this very digital age. This complete LastPass review, for example, highlights a number of ways that using a password manager can make your online life easier and more secure. LastPass has many built-in features that can be helpful, such as a password generator, and the software also helps you remember your passwords.
Tip #2: Create Unique Passwords For Every Site
When protecting your security online, there is another important consideration to keep in mind. And that is to make sure you are using unique passwords for every single site you use.
Most people tend to create a few different passwords they use on the sites they frequent. This makes it easy to remember but is never a good idea. No matter how strong your password is, using it on multiple sites makes it a weak option.
From time to time, sites will go through serious data breaches, and that can lead to your passwords becoming compromised. If this happens and you use the same password on multiple sites, you would end up with a major security issue. Create unique passwords for all sites.
What are strong password requirements that you should be following? Strong passwords must include:
- Various characters, including numbers and symbols
- A minimum of eight to 12 characters (depending on the site)
- No identifying words or information
- No similarity to previous passwords
Remember, strong passwords are the first line of defense when it comes to your online security. Without strong passwords, you could be giving hackers easy access to your bank account, shopping accounts, or other private information that should not be easily accessible. If you follow the tips outlined earlier, you’re on the right path to protecting yourself online.