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Monday, November 15, 2021

Password Security: How to Create a Strong Password (and Remember It)




Have you ever typed a password and the system indicates that it is too weak or you add some symbols or numbers? As common as it is, a strong password saves you from intrusions and cyber attacks. It's hard to create a strong and memorable password with all the suggested combinations. Let's get started. 

There are 7 essential tips to create a strong, memorable password. They include:

  • Do not use sequential letters or numbers
  • Don't include your birthday details
  • Use a combination of numbers, symbols, and at least 8 letters
  • Use unrelated words
  • Don't use words found in the dictionary
  • Don't reuse your password
  • Use a trusted password manager to store your passwords. 

In this article, you will learn how to create a strong and memorable password, things to avoid when creating a password, and the safest way to store them. 

Password Security: How to Create a Strong Password (and Remember It)

Password is a combination of characters used for authenticating users when logging into a website, system, app, device, and online accounts like job portals, insurance, social media e.t.c.

The characters can be numbers, letters, or symbols, or a mixture of both. Passwords are either created by human beings or generated randomly by a computer.

Password Security: How to Create a Strong Password (and Remember It)

When setting passwords for sites, they give specific rules that the password must meet. While on the other sites, you just set the password that you feel you can remember without following any rules.

Creating a strong password should be a behavior we practice and master. A strong password has a lot of benefits to the user by protecting him from malicious hacking and data breaches that have been on the rise lately. 

The main problem that many people encounter is not creating solid passwords but the ability to remember them.
A strong password protects the users from dictionary, phishing, and brute attacks. Every year list of cyber security and IT companies have been releasing the commonly used passwords. Some of the common passwords include 1234, password,123456, qwerty e.t.c

There are several websites used for checking whether the password is strong or weak. Some of them include Kaspersky password checker,howsecureismypassword.net e.t.c

When opening accounts, passwords are compulsory from bank details, TV subscriptions, music streaming apps. According to reports released by Last Pass, there are over 600 million breaches of data that occur yearly due to users having weak passwords.

Rules of Creating a Strong Password

There are several ways of creating a strong password. Many people use insecure and straightforward passwords like 123456, qwerty which are not encouraged. 

Strong passwords give hackers or computers a more challenging time cracking your password than having an easier time cracking it. The rules recommended for creating a strong password are :

1. Create a Longer Password
When creating a password, it's encouraged to be a longer password. Long passwords are passwords with eight characters and above. Creating a password with characters less than eight is not recommended.

Long passwords give hackers a hard time cracking. It also increases the complexity of the password. This password needs keenness when creating one of them.
It helps in avoiding brute force attacks.

2. Avoid the use of dictionary words
When creating a password, avoid using dictionary words. The use of common dictionary words like love, hate, the purpose is hazardous and can expose you to vulnerability.

3. Use of two-factor authentication
Two-factor authentications give you another level of security. It gives you a chance to protect your account once a hacker tries to log into your account. He has requested another security feature like entering a one-time OTP sent to you and will notify you that someone is trying to access your account.

It prevents malicious hackers from bypassing the second security method; it's good to use authentication apps like Google Authenticator and Authy. Registers the apps and devices in the app so that you need to log in every time you access your accounts.

4. Avoid using the same password for different accounts.
Recycling passwords is one of the biggest mistakes we are making. Using the same password exposes you to hacking. According to research, 33% of people reuse their passwords on several accounts.
Reusing passwords also applies when a user, for example, uses Fredone on the first account, and on the other, he keeps using Fredtwo, Fredthree, Fredfour. It is still discouraged. Make a habit of generating a unique password.

5. Avoid the use of personal information when creating a password
The use of personal information is easier to crack and steal by someone else. Personal information includes:

  • Names of your pets, animals, kids, family members, friends
  • Birthday and the anniversary of your family, friends
  • Hobbies, Interests, Games, Favorite movies.
  • Addresses of town, postal address, city, and house number.
  • Name of schools attended like high school, university.

Using personal information gives the hacker clue about your password, especially if he gets access to the data. If any of the passwords you use to have these, it is time to change it.

6. Use of password managers
There are a lot of password managers that can help in creating strong passwords. Using a password manager is very easy. You log in to the website that you are want to create a password, the password manager automatically generates a random and strong password and fills in the space where it's required.

A password manager saves a lot of time when creating a password as there is no thinking. It stores all the passwords in an encrypted format.

Avoid using the password managers installed as browsers extensions. Most of them lead to data breaches and expose your passwords to the public. Most of the browser extensions harvest and save passwords for hackers.

Examples of password managers include dashlane, KeePass, LastPass, bitwarden, and so on.

Password Security: How to Create a Strong Password (and Remember It)

7. Avoid the use of common words, phrases, and patterns
Many sites and companies have several rules that they use and judge as a strong password when a user signs up with them. Some of the common patterns used include:

        i. Uppercase, four small letters, one number(Kimad1)
      ii. Uppercase, five small letters, two numbers (Felixs22)
    iii. Uppercase, six small letters, one number, unique character. (Gerwsis7?)

Most of these patterns are not secure. They don't use them while creating a password but instead create a unique one. The policy of following these patterns doesn't work anymore. They are becoming weaker and vulnerable to hackers.

We should avoid using common words and phrases like 'my password,' 'password,' 'admin,' and so on.

8. Use of Computer Keyboard
The computer keyboard is one of the essential tools when choosing a solid password. Use the keyboard by selecting several numbers, characters, and symbols and combining them into one password.

You can create passwords by combining different letters, shapes, emoticons with the help of the keyboard.
You can select werty,4567,@?!! On the keyboard and combine it to form [email protected]?!! Which is a strong password.

Importance of a strong password.

Having a strong password will save you a lot with the rise of cyber security threats.

1) It helps in protecting personal information and data from leaking to hackers.
2) It protects users from financial fraud. In some cases, stealing credit card credentials happens, and you end up making purchases online if you have a weaker password.
3) It helps keep your devices safe from malware, key loggers, botnets, Trojans, and malicious hackers. It applies most to website site owners and their users.

A Trick For Creating Memorable Passwords

There are several ways of making your passwords memorable. Some people are struggling to remember more than the eighty-plus passwords they use on their accounts.

Memorizing passwords depends on which method you used to create the password, not the complexity of the password.

Password Security: How to Create a Strong Password (and Remember It)

The use of password managers may not be the solution as the manager saves all the passwords in one place with a master password. What happens if a hacker tries to hack and manages to access the password manager? Did you guess it right? Troubles.

There are several practices and tricks when done well, will help the user remember the password and minimize the behavior of resetting them more often.

Here are a few tricks to do it:

1. When it comes to passwords, many people find trouble remembering them, but when it comes to scripts of movies, musicians' songs, they remember them word by word. You can use letters from these sentences you know to create passwords. These sentences can be lyrics of a song, favorite behavior quote, or phrase.

Bruce Schneier started this method of converting a sentence into a password.
You can select a few letters from the memorable sentences you know, change their cases and add numbers, and you get a strong password.

For example, in a sentence, 'John is becoming a beast and will harm other people. Pick the first letters from each word in the sentence; it becomes Jibabwhop, then add numbers ad symbols Jibabwhop123! It becomes a solid and memorable password.

Some say this method of remembering passwords is poetic.

2. Make the passwords bypass phrasing
Another common way of remembering passwords is pass phrasing. A passphrase is just a string of longer words, but they are easy to remember and hard to crack. They are very secure to use as passwords.

They have bizarre words and unknown words. They are rare to find, but you can also come up with some of them. They are sometimes referred to as mnemonic passwords. The generation of these words may sometimes look silly.

Passphrases are easier to remember than standard passwords. In 2021, the FBI told USA residents to make a habit of using past phrases more often. Most of them involve random creation. If you can't generate it on your own, there are plenty of sites online that generates the phrases for you.

The words selected are easier to remember and add symbols like hyphens, spaces, equal signs, etc. Pass phrasing passwords are very secure due to their complexity. Examples of these passwords include Law-School-Hold-Wage-0, Broa&Swimm-Argue7, Gun-Force-Worship-8 e.t.c.

3. Combining words
It is easier to form a password by combining two letters. You can also come up with two random words and combine them according to the rules you can remember.

 For example, if you have two words, "Visit" "landscape," you can combine them with "landvisitscape" to be easier to remember.

4. Using the Computer Keyboard
The use of keyboard sequences letters can help one in creating a password that is easy to remember. On the keyboard, a combination of letters like wsxcvbhy and a few numbers can make it memorable.

You can also create passwords by drawing shapes, patterns using the keyboard letters. The shapes can be your names or the geometrical ones. Those keyboard letters that drew the shape become the password.

Using the computer, you can also use emoticons. Emoticons are letters, numbers, and punctuation marks that generate graphical icons to show emotion. Several websites are using this. You can combine several emoticons to form one strong password.

5. Use of PAO Method
PAO system relies on the memorization of long numbers no matter how long it is.PAO means person, action, object. You may be wondering how to use the PAO system. It works as follows:

i)We connect each person with a two-digit number that ranges from 0-99.
ii)After assigning the numbers, you choose the person and the number he represents.

For example, if Eric Donalson is number 13 and sings is number 67 while well is number 30. The PAO will be 136730.

6. Online generators
Many websites on the internet help users generate passwords randomly. Some sites include LastPass password generator,dashlane password generator, perfects password, and secure password generator.

7. Coming up with patterns.
Patterns are one of the best methods to memorize passwords. Most users come up with patterns they can stick to and remember.

For example, a user can have a pattern to alternate vowels, consonants, and numbers. Security experts have been discouraging this practice lately due to increased attacks.

Password Security: How to Create a Strong Password (and Remember It)

Things to Avoid when dealing with passwords

  • Avoid writing passwords down either on paper, notebook, diary e.t.c. It may lead to many people accessing your details. Maybe you can lose the written piece that means losing all passwords and exposing them to malicious people. Some even end up forgetting the written passwords in public places like parks, cyber cafes, and hotels.
  • Avoid sharing your passwords with other people from friends, family, colleagues. It may lead to them accessing your information about your permission and end up messing you up.
  • Avoid the usage of default passwords like admin, password e.t.c. This behavior is mostly on system administrators who manage websites and customer data.
  • Avoid logging into accounts that need passwords on public networks. A lot of sniffing occurs in public networks that lead to a lot of people losing their details.
  • Changing passwords anyhow is discouraging, and changing passwords after a short while is against security practices. It helps in pushing people to use weaker passwords than the ones they used initially.

Making sure the devices you are using are safe, one of the primary attacks is keylogging. It is encouraging to use updated antiviruses and antimalware to detect and remove any suspected attacks.

Having strong passwords doesn't apply to individuals only; it also goes for organizations, businesses, schools, etc. It's the role and mandate of everyone to protect himself from all these.

Password Security: How to Create a Strong Password (and Remember It)

Conclusion

Passwords hold a lot of information. Once someone has access to your password, he can access a lot of information about you from personal information, financial, device subscriptions, and so on. To avoid someone else or a stranger from accessing all these, you must create a solid and memorable password.

Use all the tricks we have discussed to create a strong password that will protect you from insecure activities like hacking. There has been a lot of brutes, dictionary attacks, and data breaches going on recently. Many companies are harvesting and selling all these, and this is one way of protecting yourself.

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