How Do I Create a Strong Password?
Picture this: one morning, you wake up and check on your bank account. For some reason, you see that there are multiple charges that you did not make such as countless $500 purchases at grocery stores that are hundreds of miles away from your home. In a few seconds, panic starts to sink in and you are wondering how someone hacked into your bank account and started spending your hard-earned money. How does this happen? The answer? A weak password.
Have you noticed that when you browse the internet, you are oftentimes met with an important message requiring you to set up an account? In order to successfully set up an account, a strong password is often required that consists of a specific amount of characters, an uppercase letter, a number, and a special character. While these requirements may seem daunting and tedious, it is actually very important to follow these rules as it can protect you and your private information from the hands of cyber criminals. In this article, we will be discussing their importance and tips on how to create a strong password that you will not forget.
Why Is A Strong Password Important?
First, let’s answer the most important question: why is a strong password important? While we don’t want to accuse websites and claim that they are not secure enough, there is always a small chance that you may encounter cyber criminals who want to steal your personal information. In order to prevent this from happening, strong passwords act as a wall to keep your private information safe and away from the hands of these criminals.
Be Creative When “Brainstorming” A Password
When creating a strong password, do not go for common passwords that unfortunately, millions of people continue to fall victim to. According to various data breaches and NordPass, a proprietary password manager, the most common passwords in 2020 are:
● Rank #1 – 123456
● Rank #2 – 123456789
● Rank #3 – picture1
● Rank #4 – password
● Rank #5 – 12345678
● Rank #6 – 111111
● Rank #7 – 123123
● Rank #8 – 12345
● Rank #9 – 1234567890
● Rank #10 – senha
● Rank #11 – 1234567
● Rank #12 – qwerty
● Rank #13 – abc123
● Rank #14 – Million2
● Rank #15 – 000000
● Rank #16 – 1234
● Rank #17 – iloveyou
● Rank #18 – aaron431
● Rank #19 – password1
● Rank #20 – qqww1122
The secret to creating a strong password is using something that is memorable and easy to remember. When “brainstorming,” ask yourself unique questions such as:
● What is my favorite scent?
● What is my favorite movie?
● Who is my favorite fictional character?
● What is my favorite quote?
● What is my favorite Bible verse?
● Where is my favorite destination?
These are suitable questions to ask yourself in order to get a good idea and create a password that means something to you. When passwords are completely random and do not have some sort of connection, people typically forget what their password is quickly. By having a memorable connection, you are able to create a strong password with minimal effort.
For example, if your favorite scent is “honeysuckle,” you can play around with different numbers and special characters and come up with “H0n3y_suckl3!” This is a great example of a strong password as it is not correlated to any private information about you that cyber criminals may have access to, while also following the general requirement of 8+ characters, an uppercase letter, numbers, and special characters. It is always recommended to play around with words, numbers, and characters but it is just as important not to go overboard as this can lead you to easily forget what passwords you have come up with.
In addition, being creative means staying away from using personal information such as the numbers of your birthday or your address. For example, if your birth year is in 1973, make sure to avoid using that combination as it is usually a dead giveaway. Always remember that cyber criminals will try to use information about you as their first attempt.
Lastly, avoid using an identical password for all your accounts. While it may seem easier to create one password across all your accounts, it is unsafe and can put you at risk as all of your private information can be compromised in one sitting.
Keep Track Of Your Login Credentials
While countless websites advise against writing your login credentials down, other sources have stated that password managers are not for everyone. In addition, many websites, browsers and cellphones have started providing an option to “remember” your password which can put your private information at a higher risk rather than keeping a physical copy through pen and paper. However, do not make the mistake and “write” them down on Google Docs or Microsoft Office as these can be easily hacked as well.
If you are worried that someone may break into your home and run away with your passwords, treat the document like a piece of jewelry and keep it hidden. When you are not using it, keep it out of sight such as inside your desk or drawer and if you own one, a safe. In the event that you
will not be home for a long period of time due to business/leisure travels, never leave the document at home and always bring it with you.
Lastly, if you are not interested in keeping a physical copy and believe that password managers are the best fit for you, that is totally fine! A password manager can be convenient as they will remember every password for you so that you don’t have to. While there are a ton of password managers out there, The New York Times recommends 1Password as one of the best password managers of 2021.
It comes as no surprise that we, as a society, are transitioning to a more digital lifestyle. In order to adapt to these changes and help protect yourself and your private information from the hands of cyber criminals, a strong password can be just as important as the security system in your home. In order to live a more secure lifestyle, try these tips out and see the worries wash away.
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