Generating A Secure Password
Creating strong passwords is one of the most important things you can do to safeguard your accounts online. Luckily, there are some easy ways to do this!
There are many apps and services that offer recommendations for strong password strategies. Some will even generate a ton of random passwords for you to pick from. All of these tools have you picking key parts of the password (for example, using real life items or characters) and then adding them together in different orders to create a longer password.
The tricky part comes when you need to remember all of those pieces- they’re not very straightforward. That’s where keeping notes becomes helpful- you can easily store each component somewhere like in your phone or computer.
And once you have everything organized, creating and changing your account passwords gets a lot easier! You'll also want to be sure to test out your new passwords by going through the same process with another account.
Pick a good password length
Passwords with shorter lengths are much easier to type than longer passwords, which can make it tempting to use them. However, this shortsighted approach will eventually get you into trouble!
It’s like putting a cheap pair of shoes in your hand. You may feel comfortable using them for a while, but soon they'll break down and cause you serious harm. Unfortunately, that's what happens when poor security choices are made; it takes just one bad person or situation to ruin your day.
By choosing long, complex passwords, you reduce the risk of someone guessing your username or password, but you also increase the risk of someone breaking into your account due to complicated authentication procedures.
This article will talk about how to pick strong passphrases and give some easy tips to create very hard to crack passwords. But before we move onto more elaborate ways to strengthen your online safety, let us begin by discussing why it is important to choose excellent passwords.
Use a combination of characters
The second element in creating strong passwords is choosing your password, or generating one if you don’t have one yet. Don’t use words that can be easily found online or guessed, like “password1” or “123456!”
That kind of easy prey doesn’t work for very long. You will find yourself changing your password more often than not!
Instead, pick a set number of characters that make sense to you, something personal, unique, and descriptive. A good rule of thumb is picking four random letters (like making an initialism out of three different letters), two numbers, and a special character such as a space, exclamation point, question mark, or backslash.
You should also choose a length — anything longer than eight characters is considered strong, but keep it under twenty-four because even computers cannot process those quickly.
Use a dictionary word
Sometimes, people get so focused on making their password unique that they use very simple passwords like “password1” or “1234567890!” These are easily hacked because you don't have to work too hard to find them in computer databases.
By using easy to guess words, it only takes someone time to break into your account to access all of your personal information.
That's why it is important to use something complex instead of a word from the dictionary. You can make it more difficult to type those words quickly, thus limiting the chances of someone hacking into your accounts.
Use a phrase
A great way to create a secure password is to use a simple, easy to remember sentence or short phrase as your password. This can be done at any time you need a new strong password.
You can then make a second set of words that relate to this initial passphrase in some way. For example, if your passphrase was “My family loves apples,” then your secondary password could be “The best apple I have ever eaten comes from my sister.”
By adding these two pieces into one, it becomes easier to connect the two. In fact, software exists that will generate strong passwords for you! All you do has to enter your initial password and then hit generate, making this step unnecessary.
This may sound complicated, but there are many tools out there that do exactly what we describe here. Most are free to access, though some require you to pay per month or yearly depending on how much usage you have.
Use a number
It is not enough to have a long, random string of characters as your password. This has been the standard for years, but it is slowly becoming obsolete.
Many websites require you to use a specific set of numbers (typically 4) along with some sort of special character (like an exclamation point or hyphen). These passwords are called “password rules” and they are very common now.
By requiring this structure, website developers can help ensure that your account gets hacked more easily. Because there must be at least one digit, at least one punctuation symbol, at least one uppercase letter and at least one lowercase letter, any intruder will know what to look for when trying to brute-force crack your password.
Use different types of characters
Passwords should contain a variety of characters, not just numbers or letters. This will make it more difficult to crack your password if someone gets lucky and is able to grab some word fragments from you.
Traditionally, passwords were limited to only alphabetic characters. However, this quickly became very easy to hack.
By the mid-2000’s, most strong passwords had at least one capital letter, one special character (like an exclamation point or question mark), and one non-alphabetical symbol such as a number or punctuation sign. That was all well and good, but what about people who don’t use those in their everyday lives?
8,000 year old tradition aside, we now have evidence that non-alphanumeric passwords are much better than sticking with “abc123!”. According to research conducted by SplashData, over 60% of the 2 million+ unique login credentials they analyzed contained both numbers and symbols. Only 6% used just numbers, 5% used just letters, and 3% used a combination of both.
Use a salt
The next step in creating strong passwords is to include what’s called a salted hash of your password. This adds an additional layer of security that makes it more difficult for someone to guess your password.
A hashed password uses a special algorithm (or method) combination that creates a unique string value related to your original password. These new strings are referred to as hashes. By adding this extra level of protection, hackers have more time trying different combinations before they get into your account.
By using a hashing service such as OneLogin or Google Authenticator, you can easily add these salts to create even stronger passwords.
Use a pattern
The second major component of strong passwords is using a pattern to make your password. You can use no patterns, or you can choose from several types of patterns.
There are three main types of patterns used for creating strong passwords. These include:
Sequence – A sequence password adds length to your passphrase by repeating a word or string of words. Yours could be “My first name is my old password!” or “The last thing I bought was a oven!”
A special type of sequence password is called a mixed-case sequence which only uses lower case characters. An example would be “the cat sat on the mat.”
Kerfuffle -This complex word pattern comes directly from Harry Potter! It consists of five different words that all start with the same letter.
Use a password generator
Scroll above and use Malgo's password generator tool. It's quick and easy with 8 options to customize your secure password the way you want.