We use passwords for everything. Our online accounts, social networks, web app logins, computer logins, phones, cloud storage, banking, shopping and a whole lot more. When the loss of a password can mean losing data, money, personal details or worse, it makes sense to make that password a good one. As part of a data loss prevention effort, Dave’s Computers is has some top tips for generating secure passwords.
First, before we begin generating secure passwords, a note about using them. Never repeat a password for more than one login. It leaves two or more accounts wide open to attack should one be compromised. If you have trouble creating or remembering your passwords, use a password manager. They are free, easy to use and will even generate secure passwords for you.
Generating secure passwords
On its own, there is no such thing as a completely secure password. All we can do is make it as difficult as possible to break so nobody but the most determined hacker will bother trying to crack it.
Hackers tend to use two main attacks. First, dictionary attacks, which use a program with a dictionary loaded into it to try all combinations of words. Second, phishing or social engineering to try to trick you into giving up your password. Secure passwords can help with that first attack but not the second so never give out your password for any reason. Ever.
Here are those tips for secure passwords:
- Always use a different password for every login.
- Use a password manager if you can.
- Use a mixture of lower case, upper case, special characters and numbers.
- Use a passphrase instead of a single word. The first line of a book, a line from a song, album title or random phrase. Just make sure you can remember it!
- Use random words from different languages. Try Latin, Aramaic, Hebrew and other historical languages to create a phrase.
- Use a color and object with a number or special character. Purp1eistheM0nkey! for example.
- Always use a minimum of 10 characters for any single password. More is better as long as you can remember them.
- It’s okay to write longer passwords down as long as you don’t lose the paper.
- Use a password reminder sheet if you don’t want to write the password in plain text.
- Never, ever give out your password if someone asks. Nobody should ever need them unless you know or trust them.
Passwords have been around forever and show no signs of going anywhere soon. Generating and managing them is hard work in the volume that we tend to need to create them. However, there is no option but to keep them unique and make them hard to guess!