How to Create a Strong Password

For those who are unaware of the dangers of using weak passwords, this brief review of password faux pas should help keep your sensitive information safe.

The facts:

Many computer users copy the same passwords time and time again. If you are unlucky enough to have chosen one of the following as a password then read the next sections carefully:

  1. password
  2. 1234565
  3. 12345678
  4. 1234
  5. qwerty
  6. 12345
  7. dragon
  8. baseball
  9. football
  10. letmein

For the most simple of reasons it is important to choose a “strong” password and also to change it several times a year, depending on the type of account you are using. Many online registration forms will indicate whether the password you have chosen is strong or weak but the best way to avoid catastrophe is to familiarise yourself with a few best practices.

How not to choose a password:

Never use a dictionary word – never pick a word as if it were out of the dictionary and stick with it. You need to modify the word in some way in order to give it “strength”.

Some people choose their own names, family members, film stars, pets, football teams, even the name of the monitor they use, just so they can be sure to remember their password. Don’t do this. If you are hopeless when it comes to remembering long words with obscure spelling then pick a simple phrase and change some of the characters to numbers AND symbols.

The best way to really evade malicious attacks on your protected online information is to choose a password that makes no sense to anyone but you (well, almost). That’s where our password trick comes in – it’s better to have a password that makes no sense except to you than have your information compromised. For example:

  • Choose a phrase instead of a single word e.g. I like cakes
  • Include numbers and symbols and change lower case letters to upper case e.g. %I_Lik3_C4k3s%

With this easy trick you can make choosing a password as simple or complicated as you wish. You need only practise and remember the method you prefer and you’ll be creating strong passwords for life.

NB. Of course, you shouldn’t use the password we’ve created in this example. Create a phrase of your own and transform it into something wonderful.

Enjoy this advice? Head over to Help4IT to get more support with your IT!


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