Tips on making (and remembering) a secure password

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Since July is Security Month for us, why not write something that is basically a huge problem for all of us, even the tech community. That topic is password security. There is no doubt that this is a huge problem, especially when we are told to make it complicated and make it easy to remember – and most often, and I’m sometimes guilty, of making my passwords often easy to remember than complicated.

That is why we have made this easy guide on how to make some secure passwords, and make it easy to remember your password.

Did you know, you can actually win one of ten copies of BitDefender Total Security 2010 for free. Yes, you heard that right. For FREE! You can enter the competition right here.

Never use the Dictionary

This is a major tip for all password creation. Never EVER use a dictionary word, or a word from the dictionary – even if it is long like antidisestablishmentarianism, or even from another language. Dictionary words are often the first thing hackers use to try and crack into an account – and thanks to modern technology, it is pretty easy to create an application that will do all the password cracking. Also, that applies to common misspellings, abbreviating a word or even spelling it backwards.

If you must use a dictionary word, then make sure it is combined with other characters and mixing cases, at the beginning, middle and end of the word. Having a password like “Sydney” can be made more secure by adding “&sy1Dn3y”.

Never use personal data!

Personal data, like middle names, maiden names and driver or passport numbers is a huge no-no. Never ever use that technique when creating a password. This not only applies to you, but to personal information of family members. Why? Well, if someone personally knows you, it makes it more than likely that they would be able to guess your password.

Password Generators? Unless you are robot…

Unless you are a robot, or someone with really really good memory, then I must go against the use of a password generator. Sure, they can make your password super secure, but most likely you have a one in one billion chance in remembering that password. Plus, you actually trying to type one in using your keyboards is a much better for remembering a password than using a generator.

Also, who is going to remember .$$)<$g6$Y4!(D as their password?

Then how the hell do I make a secure one?

There are many ways to do create complex passwords. One is to look up a password generator on Google, but often at times, you will find that the passwords would most likely never going to be easy to remember. The other technique is often create a phrase, change some of the cases, add then add numbers and symbols.

However, like I said, you can get away with that by following what I said above: getting a dictionary word, but change some of the cases and add numbers in between the characters of the word and before and after the word.  But what about the length? I have seen some amazingly complex ones that can be up to 20 characters long. Yes, that long. However, you can usually get away with it with 8 characters.

But here is my suggestion on how to make the password, and most likely going to help you remember it: have the same base password – like the Sydney one above, but also add at the end of it something that would be specific for that website, like tw for your Twitter account or fb for Facebook. That way, if someone tries and successfully cracks your password, at least you don’t have to change every single password on your long list of login details all over the web.

How do I know if my password is actually secure?

Think that password is not that secure? Well, there is a simple website we can direct you to see if that password is secure. Simply called the “Password Meter“, it will mark you up or down and calculate how safe your password is by giving you a percentage mark. Think of it as a driving test.

And for those who are scared that this will give your passwords to the author, it will not. The code, especially the JavaScript, has no line that will send that data back to the author.

And yes, the screenshot reads correct – there were 307 characters in that password. Obviously that is a joke, and I don’t suggest you have a password that long.

Okay, Now how do I remember it?

There are several ways in remembering a password. One is simply write it somewhere – but make sure it is in a very secure location and not on a post-it note stuck on your monitor. That is simply the worst way in securing your password.

As well, do not put your passwords on a document file – even as obvious as creating a file called “Passwords.txt” – especially when your computer login is not protected by a password or is on a computer accessible to any other person than you.

If you followed the suggestion I gave you above, then you simply have to remember the base part of your password – which makes it easier to remember a password since your two letter code for a website would be easily recognisable – well, we hope it is recognisable.

Another option of remembering your passwords is simply getting a password manager, which is more secure than putting your passwords on a document. It works by making you type in a master password to gain access to the list of passwords you have. That makes it even easier to remember your passwords since you only need to know one password to get to the rest. There are too many to list here, but Lifehacker has a list of what it deems the best password managers out there.

Did you know, you can actually win one of ten copies of BitDefender Total Security 2010 for free. Yes, you heard that right. For FREE! You can enter the competition right here.

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  • Jonny

    I use http://www.Logaway.com to store everything(passwords, documents, etc) I use on the internet. I can access it from anywhere and it is VERY helpful!