Tech Tips Series: How to create a secure password

One of the areas I see computer users slack on is password creation.This can be dangerous. You want data to be secure!

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A secure password means a secured account. Image via Wikipedia

Why does this happen? Many computer users will choose passwords that they feel are easy to remember.

Weak passwords can be an open door to your email account, bank account, or even website!

Unfortunately, they usually choose passwords that hackers and bots (programs that search for vulnerable passwords) can easily decipher.

Here are a list of popular passwords that were revealed when accounts from a popular site was hacked:

  1. 123456
  2. password
  3. iloveyou
  4. abc123
  5. qwerty

Do you notice anything about these passwords? Here are the things that I notice:

  • They are short. Most were six characters or less
  • When they contain numbers, they are in numerical order
  • All passwords were lower case

So, what does this mean to you? It means that if your password is listed above, you need to change it. If your password is similar to any of the listed passwords, you should change it.

You also need to think of ways that you could create a secure password. How can you tell if your password is more secure than the examples given? Here are things that your password should contain:

  • Capitalization: Adding in capitalization brings in many more possibilities. Having capitalization in the middle of your password makes it more difficult for someone to manually figure out your password.
  • Non-alpha and numeric characters: Use characters like $, @, or !.
  • Multiple words: Many bots will follow a script that contains a dictionary. Most of these will be single words. By combining multiple words, your passwords will be able to better withstand an attack.
  • More 6 letters: Ten or more characters create tough passwords to crack.

Let me leave you with one final tip. When you create a password, think of using a non-alpha character to replace an alpha character. Lets say you want your password to be jumbojet. What could you do to make this password stronger?

  1. Add a third word to the password: Maybe add the word liners. Your password becomes a healthy 14 characters instead of 8.
  2. Replace the o and e with numeric characters: o becomes a 0 (zero), e becomes a 3, l (or i) becomes a 1, and the s could become $. By using symbols that look similar to the letter, it makes your secure password easier to remember.
  3. Do not use the same password on multiple accounts: If a hacker finds your multiple accounts, they will have easy access if your passwords are the same.

Follow these steps and you are on your way to having a more secure online presence!

Question: Are you concerned about the security of your online passwords? Have you taken steps to ensure that they are secure? Please join in the conversation and share your answers in the comment section below.

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Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.