Let’s face it – with so many software products and apps, it’s hard to keep passwords straight, not to mention secure. And the information changes. Passwords that worked yesterday don’t always work well with today’s security risks. Password crackers and methods are more sophisticated than ever before. To help you stay current, here are a few tips, outlined by Hubspot that can help you write a stronger password that may be a little easier to remember as well.
1. Different account? Different password
A research study of over 300 college students found that nearly 75% reused at least one password. What’s the big deal? When you reuse a password, and a hacker accesses one of your accounts, the others fall like dominos. Many websites ask you to login with your email address, giving you the same username across multiple accounts, which amplifies the problem.
2. Make them long
According to Steve Gibson, a computer security expert, “making a password longer slows down a hacker’s ability to figure out what the password is, and length matters more than complexity.” Steve created a website called the Password Haystack that estimates how long it would take a password-cracker to key in on yours. It’s amazing how adding just one character to your password can make a big difference. How long is long enough? 12 characters seems to be optimum.
3. Try a password tool
Do you reset a password at least once a month? You’re not alone. It’s hard to remember more than a few passwords, but there are tools to aid the absentminded. A few popular password tools are 1Password, LastPass 3.0, and KeePass. Now you just have to remember one password!
4. Exclude personal information
By separating personal information from your passwords, they are more difficult to guess. Searched yourself on Google lately? It’s amazing what people can learn about you from a simple web search. Don’t use a first, middle, or last name, your initial or anyone’s nickname. We all love our pets, but putting their name in a password is another common error.
5. Use mnemonics
A mnemonic password is a password that uses a pattern of letters, ideas, or associations that help you remember it better. An example of a mnemonic password that you can visualize is “Oranges eat bananas but only on the beach.” If you can picture it in your head, it will be much easier to remember. Another cool tip is to tie the visualization to the name of the website you’re using. A Facebook user might use a password like “Yearbooks are so 1995.”
Passwords aren’t always easy, and maybe there will be new technologies in the future to make things easier. But for now, hopefully these tips give you a few ideas to help keep your tech accounts more secure.