How to make a better password, right now
Dissertations and whole books are written about making passwords secure. But if you would rather read something not boring, here are a few tips to get you started.
If you are online, your data is under a constant stream of hacking attacks. When i started this site a few days ago, the first visitors were spambots and targeted attacks, both from China, who were specifically interested in my WordPress login page.
What passwords NOT to have.
If you go with one of these most used passwords, you should change it immediately:
1. password2. 1234563. 123456784. abc1235. qwerty6. monkey7. letmein8. dragon9. 11111110. baseball11. iloveyou12. trustno113. 123456714. sunshine15. master16. 12312317. welcome18. shadow19. ashley20. football21. jesus22. michael23. ninja24. mustang25. password1
If your password consists of one word you find in the dictionary and a number that is also a birthday you are also very vulnerable. Examples:
These password options already cover the majority of users, because people don’t want to remember 12 different passwords like “$3dR_9vL?d+k%?”
Generating a secure password that is easy to remember.
The trick is to generate a password from something that you already know / is already in your head, but make it less obvious.
Start with a quote, song lyrics, a prayer … something that is intimate to you / influenced you and consists of at least 8 words. An example: If you would like the song “Mr. Tambourine Man” from Bob Dylan, take the beginning of the lyrics:
“Hey! Mr. Tambourine Man, play a song for me”
Now take the first letters of every word and combine them to something like this:
HMTMpasfm (whatever is the most obvious for you).
Now just slap a number at the back (even one of the infamous “birthday numbers”), just because why not? In this example, his birthdate. Now you have something like this:
H!MTM,pasfm41 or HMTMpasfm1941
Congratulations! This is it. A pretty good password – it has uppercase and lowercase letters, it’s not in the dictionary, and it’s only in your head because it means something to you and you get quickly used to it if you use it regularly. Of course you could always crank it up a notch or two – look what “anonymous stranger” writes down in the comments section …
A few more things to consider.
Unfortunately, one strong password may not be enough. Most security experts recommend to change it now and then. At least, try to have one password for entertainment sites (they tend to be less protected) and one each for online email, social networking, and of course financial services. If you are getting serious about security, follow Walt French’s advice in the comments below.
If you really only want to remember one really good password, get a password manager where you use this “master key” to login and where you have securely stored all your other information. If you have a smartphone, i recommend “1password” or “mSecure“. They both can store an encrypted backup on your computer, so if you lose one, you are still able to recover them. If you are more traditional, write the passwords down on a piece of paper and lock them away safely / put them at an unsuspecting place. DO NOT store them on your computer as a text document.
Great! You now enjoy more security than 99% of the people out there. Just remember not to get too famous – because then you better remember bad boys like Yø7h#(&Jz/k7(§9 …