Passwords play a crucial role in safeguarding our online accounts. They are our first line of defense against unauthorized access and protect our sensitive information from falling into the wrong hands. We’ve already made a blogpost on this matter, but as the technology advances, we thought it would be fitting to summarize some of the most important points you should remember when you make passwords for your accounts and devices.
Why are strong passwords important?
Many people forget the importance of strong passwords. This makes most passwords easy to crack - and many even use the same password for several accounts and devices meaning that we serve our accounts to hackers on a silver platter - and we need to avoid that.
In the age of cyber threats and ever-increasing hacking attempts, strong passwords are essential for maintaining the security and privacy of our online accounts. Weak passwords can, as mentioned, be easily cracked by using various methods, such as brute force attacks or dictionary attacks. It can potentially expose our personal information, financial details, or confidential data. By using strong passwords, we significantly reduce the risk of hackers accessing our accounts and also protect ourselves from identity theft, financial fraud, and other cybercrimes.
Characteristics of a strong password
Below we have listed some examples of strong passwords, as well as what you can implement when you create your own passwords:
- Length: The longer the password, the better. Aim for a minimum of 12 characters, but ideally, go even longer if the platform allows it.
- Complexity: A strong password should include a combination of uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers, and special characters. Avoid using obvious patterns or common words.
- Unpredictability: Avoid using personal information as part of your password. It can be information such as your name, birthdate, or pet's name. Hackers can easily find these details and exploit them.
- Variation: Use a unique password for each of your accounts. Reusing passwords across multiple platforms increases the risk of a single breach compromising multiple accounts.
How you can make secure passwords
Creating strong passwords can be challenging, especially when we need to remember multiple ones for all of our accounts. However, by following some practical strategies, you can make secure passwords that are easy to remember as well:
- Passphrase method: Instead of relying on a single word, use a memorable phrase or sentence as your password. For example, "I love hiking in the mountains!" can be transformed into "IL0veHiking1nTheM0untains!".
- Random characters: Utilize a mix of random characters, including uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers, and special characters. Tools like password managers can help generate and store these complex passwords for you.
- Word mashing: Combine unrelated words to create a unique and memorable password. For instance, "water" and "butterfly" can become "Wat#Butt3fly!" - implement unique characters instead of letters as we did with “e” that becomes 3.
- Password managers: This is one of the easiest ways to remember all the different passwords you have for your accounts - you don’t have to remember them because the password manager does for you! You simply have to have a password manager and only have one password to access the manager - the password manager then generates unique passwords for each account you have.
Unique password ideas
It can be difficult to come up with unique and strong passwords - especially without reusing your old ones. What is important to note when looking at these ideas for creating strong passwords is the substitution of letters with numbers. It’s an old trick, but it works wonders when you create unique passwords. Below we recommend some different methods you can use to make unique passwords that the hackers will find hard to crack:
- Song lyrics: Take a memorable line from your favorite song and transform it into a password. For example, "Hey Jude, don't make it bad!" can become "HJd0ntMkItB@d!".
- Personal acronyms: Create a password using the initials of a memorable phrase or sentence. For instance, "Life is a journey, not a destination" can be condensed into "L1aJ,n@d!".
- Keyboard patterns: Utilize patterns on the keyboard to create unique passwords. For example, the combination "1qazxsw2" is created by typing the first two columns of keys on a standard keyboard.
You can also utilize the developing AI technology to help you generate new passwords - or at least to inspire you. There's many different tools you can use, it's all about using the right.
Things to remember
Creating strong passwords is a vital practice for ensuring the security of our online accounts. By following the recommended guidelines and incorporating the suggestions provided, you can significantly enhance your password's strength and reduce the risk of falling victim to cybercrimes.
Remember to stay vigilant, keep your passwords unique, and periodically update them to maintain a robust defense against potential threats. With a strong password, you can have peace of mind knowing that your valuable information remains secure in the digital realm.
FAQ about passwords
You might be left with a few questions regarding creating strong and unique passwords, so we’ve tried to cover some:
How often should I change my passwords?
While it's essential to have strong passwords, frequently changing them may not be as necessary as it once was. The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) suggests that unless there's evidence of a compromise or suspicion of unauthorized access, changing passwords every 6-12 months is generally sufficient.
Is it safe to store passwords in a password manager?
Yes, using a reputable password manager is considered a secure method to store and manage passwords. These tools use advanced encryption techniques to safeguard your passwords.
Are longer passwords always more secure?
Generally, longer passwords tend to be more secure, as they increase the time and effort required for brute force attacks. However, it's important to strike a balance between length and complexity. A long password composed of easily guessable words or patterns is still vulnerable.
This post has been updated on 25-07-2023 by Caroline Preisler.
Caroline is a copywriter here at Moxso beside her education. She is doing her Master's in English and specializes in translation and the psychology of language. Both fields deal with communication between people and how to create a common understanding - these elements are incorporated into the copywriting work she does here at Moxso.View all posts by Caroline Preisler