Password tips and tricks
Choosing a secure password is a matter of creating unlikely letter and number combinations. The more obscure your password, the tougher it will be to crack.
Step 1: Choose a phrase
Take a moment to think of a phrase that's meaningful to you. For example, here's a quote from Ogden Nash:
"Happiness is having a scratch for every itch."
If you take the first letter of each word, and substitute '4' for the word 'for', you get:
Step 2: Add special characters
You now have a reasonably strong password, but this can be improved even more by adding some special characters:
Step 3: Associate the password with a website
#Hihas4ei:AMz for Amazon
fCb#Hihas4ei: for Facebook
#Hihas4ei:Ytb for YouTube
This is just one way of customising your password for each website. Reversing the order of the letters in the suffix, using only vowels or consonants, or adding some other characters, are all possible approaches that will improve security.
This technique means you can reuse the phrase-generated part of the password for a number of different websites. It would be a good idea to have a completely different password (phrase) for a site like your bank account, which contains high-value information.
Avoid creating passwords that use:
Cyber criminals use sophisticated tools that can rapidly decipher passwords. Here are some more password tips:
- Length. Make sure your password has at least eight or more characters.
- Complexity. Include letters, punctuation, symbols, and numbers. Use the entire keyboard, not just the letters and characters you use or see most often. The greater the variety of characters in your password, the better. Remember that password hacking software automatically checks for common letter-to-symbol conversions, such as changing 'and' to '&' or 'to' to '2'.
- Variation. To keep strong passwords effective, change them often. Set an automatic reminder for yourself to change your passwords on your email, banking, and credit card websites about every three months.
- Variety. Don't use the same password for everything. Cybercriminals steal passwords on websites that have very little security, and then they use that same password and user name in more secure environments, such as banking websites.