How You Can Create Stronger Passwords

How You Can Create Stronger Passwords

It seems that news about a breach of security that results in the stealing of usernames and passwords seems to be an everyday occurrence these days. The news, from Hold Security, that Russian hackers have created a list of 1.2 billion usernames and passwords come as a surprise because of the number of login credentials that have been stolen.

The real danger of such a list is that many users use the same username and password for many websites, which now allows the Russian hackers to get access to more sites than they managed to steal the credentials from. In order to protect your online identity and data, here are some tips to help you create stronger passwords to help keep the hackers at bay.

How You Can Create Stronger Passwords

Use Unique Passwords

Never use the same password for multiple websites, always try to create a unique password for each website. I explained the reason above – if a hacker were to get your password from one website, they can then try to log into another site with the same password (provided the username is the same). If you used a different password, then the hacker wouldn’t be able to gain access on a different site.

Create Long Passwords

When it comes to passwords, longer passwords are always better than shorter passwords. Try to create passwords that are greater than 12 characters, because with the processing power of computers, shorter passwords can be cracked easier. The longer the password, the longer it would take a computer to brute-force the password.

Use Uppercase, Lowercase, Numbers and Punctuation

This tip is a common one, but is still a good idea. You should always try to mix up your password with various combinations of uppercase, lowercase, numbers and punctuation with your passwords. When doing so, however, it is also important not to create too common patterns. By this I mean, don’t always start your password with uppercase, or replace certain characters with punctuation (such as S with $). Be creative, or use a random password generator that won’t follow such rules.

Change Your Passwords Periodically

This tip is one that most people probably won’t follow, mainly because of the work involved. While it does require work, it can make it harder for a hacker to guess your password, as they may have a password for a website that you have already changed. If you are like me, you probably have over 100 passwords to manage, so changing them periodically does take time, but a password manager can help you there. At the very least, change a password when you know a site you use has been compromised.

Enable Two-Factor Authentication

More and more sites are starting to add two-factor authentication, which I feel most sites should look at implementing. Two-factor authentication means that you will need to provide an additional piece of information along with your username and password when logging in. The most common two-factor authentication involves a unique code that is generated every minute. Because the code is generated every minute, it becomes almost impossible to guess.

Use a Password Manager

There are many opinions on using password manager, but I am a big fan of using one, especially since I have many passwords to remember. With a password manager I can create a randomly generated password for each site and store them without having to worry about what the password is for the site. I use LastPass, which I find to be very secure and haven’t had any issues with using it. There are many tips you can use to secure your passwords in LastPass.

4 Responses to “How You Can Create Stronger Passwords”

  1. ipankint says:

    How about using password generator?
    Is that safe?

    • Paul Salmon says:

      Password generators in general should be safe as the developer of the generator wouldn’t know where that password will be used. I use the password generator included with LastPass. Most password managers include a password generator that is safe to use.

  2. Sagar says:

    Internet is a great place to be on. But the security issue is still a matter of concern . Though several security software have been developing day by day, still there are chances of theft and robbery on web. The one such solution is using a good password.

    The above post shows us some factors which we should include in the password that would make it stronger and very safer. All the tips provided above are very good and effective. The one pint I like the most is having two factor authentication. It would be really very helpful.

    Thank you for sharing.

    • Paul Salmon says:

      Hi Sagar,

      I agree about two factor authentication. I wish more sites would allow us to use a second factor when authenticating, but unfortunately that is not the case. I try to setup two factor authentication when a site offers such an option. It definitely cuts down on the malicious users trying to gain access to my account.

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