Crafting unbreakable secure passwords

In today’s wold, almost everyone uses the Internet and has online accounts. As we mentioned in our previous post, some of the leading tech companies are trying to find ways to get rid of passwords. But until then, one of the essential ways to protecting your online presence is by having strong and secure passwords.

The essentials

When it comes to creating secure passwords, there are some essential rules that you probably heard about. That’s why we won’t go into too much details about them, but they’re definitely worth mentioning:

  • Use longer passwords (preferably not less than 8 characters). The reason behind this is that some hackers try to find your password by trying all possible combinations. Every character you add to your password increases the number of possibilities, which means the longer the password the better.
  • Avoid commonly used passwords like “123456”, or using your public info like “yourName_birthYear”, …. These are easy to guess.
  • Use combinations of letters (uppercase and lowercase), numbers and special characters. Just like with longer passwords, using more than just the letters of the alphabet adds a lot of possibilities if someone is trying to crack your password, making it harder for them.
  • Do not reuse passwords for multiple sites.
  • Leverage randomness: long passwords are good, but long random passwords are even better. Instead of using normal words, try using random ones (like qweszxc, which you can remember by visually imagining drawing a Z on the left part of your keyboard)
qweszxc shape on keyboard

Beyond the essentials of secure passwords

Having long super complex passwords won’t do you any good if you can’t remember them. Sure, you can use password generators, but how on earth are you supposed to remember that Q}GT3~xm’FJW{E!g is the password for your Facebook account? This is where you can get creative when crafting your own special passwords.

  1. Use quotes or sentences that are easy to remember. Let’s say for example that you’re a fan of Sherlock Holmes. You can create a phrase that you can easily remember like “Sherlock Holmes is a brilliant detective. He lives at 221b Baker Street and he loves solving crime.” Then turn this phrase into a password: “[email protected]&hlsc” This is considered a strong password, and the best thing about it is that you can easily remember it. What’s even cooler is that you can hide it in plain sight. Even if you write that phrase on a notebook and leave it on your desk, no one would even know it’s the key to your password!
  2. Use prefixes and suffixes to your passwords to make them unique for each site. For example if you’re creating a password for your online bank account, you can make it like this: $baYourPasswordnk$. You can also add the name of the website in the password using some creative ways. The possibilities are endless, and the important thing is to figure out the strategy that works best for you. After all, we want to create passwords that are easy to remember but hard to crack, not the other way around.

Some tools that can help you

Now that we learned some techniques to create strong passwords, let’s explore some tools that can help us along the way.

  1. How Secure Is My Password?: This website gives you an estimated time of how long it would take a computer to crack your password. If it takes less than a couple years to crack it, then maybe it’s time to change it!
  2. The Password Meter: This is another website to test the strength of your password. It gives you instant visual feedback with detailed breakdown of the score so that you know how to improve it.
  3. Firefox Monitor: This website developed by Mozilla can help you know whether your passwords might be compromised of not. If your email appears in public data breaches then you should definitely change your passwords to be safe.
  4. Pwned Passwords: Pwned Passwords contains millions of real world passwords previously exposed in data breaches. When passwords are exposed it’s very likely that they will be added to the password lists hackers use to guess your password. That’s why you should definitely stay away from them.

Better safe than sorry is a concept that applies well to the online world. So the next time you try choosing a password, make sure it’s a secure one. And if you think one of the passwords you’re currently using is weak, then what are you waiting for? Go ahead and change it now!

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