A Secure Password, Is it Possible?
You may have recently heard of “hacking” of accounts, no doubt. Like the celebrity iCloud hacking and the 5 million hacked Gmail accounts. Basically, if something is online, it can be hacked.
To me, security, is a mirage. A hacker with determination and skills can successfully bypass almost anything online. Yes, I know, scary right?
So, how can one stay secure online? Well, lets start by the very basic rule: have a secure password.
This may seem simple enough, but it shouldn’t be taken lightly. You can actually have something you think is secure, but would be no match for a brute-forcing software capable of launching 40,000 attacks per minute.
Steps to choosing a secure password
Here are some steps you can use when creating secure passwords:
1. Use Length To Your Advantage
Create a password that has eight or more characters since this is usually the minimum for most password requirements. The longer the password the more secure it is likely to be.
2. Use random sequence of words and/or letters
Create a phrase or series of letters that are seemingly “random” but is easy to remember. Call this your “base word.”
For Example: If your children are Tolu, Lola, Michael and Polycarp, your base-word could be “tolomipo”.
3. Add numbers to your base word
Adding numbers could make the password even more complicated and harder to crack.
For Example: You can add the last two digits of your children’s birth dates to the end making it “tolomipo89909396”.
Use punctuation and symbols to complicate it further.
You can add punctuations to further nonsense the password to an onlooker. Adding symbols, makes the password one step closer to oblivion.
For Example: You can add an underscore before the birth dates in our example password, and a comma after each birth date, thereby making it “tolomipo_89,90,93,96”
Add complexity with upper and lowercase letters.
For the twist, we are going to play with the case of the letters in our password. A good method is to alternate upper and lower case letters. The first word, uppercase, the next, lower, the next upper and so on, till you exhaust letters.
For example: You can add alternating cases to our password to make it “ToLoMiPo_89,90,93,96”
Other tips for a better life
- Don’t use obvious base-words like a name, birthday or date, these are easier to crack than whole phrases.
- Don’t use your name, it will be easy to crack!
- Mixing in numbers and letters (E.G.: j78hu5948h0gy67g) can almost be impossible to crack, so try using that tip. If you’re afraid you’ll forget your password, write it down in a secure place where you won’t forget it.
- Take a word (for example, money), spell it backwards (yenom) and put your birthdate in between. Say you were born February 5, 1974. So it would be yfebe5n19o74m. Hard to remember, yes, but also nearly impossibly to crack.
- Change your passwords periodically or whenever it may have become compromised. Frequent password changing is required by company policy or federal law in some businesses, but may encourage users to choose weaker passwords or write down their password near their computers. Don’t re-use an expired password.
- For even more security, try to use “nonsense words.” Combine these with numbers to make memorable, secure passwords. For example, “brickbeak9468.”
- If you have trouble remembering all the passwords you need, try using a password manager, they can store all your passwords securely using a single master password.
Obvious Words of Wisdom
- Do not tell anybody your password. Somebody could overhear you, or the person you told could let it slip.
- Do not use any passwords you just saw on this page; they are now openly known and easy to find.
- Do not write your password anywhere where it might be seen or found.
Good luck when choosing your password.