How to Create a Strong Password

by Deyan G.

Hello, dear reader, and welcome to the magical/technical place for everyone seeking knowledge, also known as TechJury.

Today we’ll talk about passwords.

In this article, I will answer one very simple question “How to create a strong password?”.

The question may be simple, but I assure you – the answer is not. Lucky for you, you’ve found the right place to seek answers and I will reveal to you the secrets of creating a bulletproof password.

If you are already intrigued, let me tell you something else. By the time you reach the end of this article, you will be much better protected than the 150 million people, whose accounts were compromised last year.

Keep in mind that 18.2% of all malware attacks in 2018 were aimed at account hijacking. That’s just one reason you should know how to create a secure password. Statistics show that 240,731 passwords are stolen each day! Can you imagine? Almost a quarter of a million passwords. Every single day! How safe do you feel right now?

In order to make our accounts harder to crack, we must talk about the

Biggest Mistakes Users Make

First of all, we think of most of our accounts as throwaways. That’s normal, considering most online users have around 100 accounts linked to one email. And this number doubles every five years.

More often than not, we’ve chosen an easy password for some of our accounts. That way it’s easier for us to remember, right? This is mistake #1. By creating weak passwords for sites we believe we will only use rarely, we are compromising our overall security online.

By using a weak password, you are “opening the door” for hackers and inviting them in. To top it off, there’s high likelihood that what you consider to be “strong” passwords” are really weak ones. Have you ever used any of the following as a password:

  • Your name. (Like seriously? It doesn’t take a hacker or a malware to crack this)
  • Your friends or family members’ names. Pet names as well. Well sure, I love my dog too, but it could be easily guessed, even without a professional on the other side.
  • Keyboard patterns“123456” is the leader in most “worst passwords” lists. Followed by the likes of “qwerty” and such.
  • Your login information. If your username is, let’s say, AnthonyIsrow, your password shouldn’t be AnthonyIsrow as well.
  • Common words – these are too many to list, but let’s just say passwords like “password”, or “admin” aren’t the best options. Also, avoid the names of sports, sports teams or common names for your password.
  • Avoid using short passwordsThe shorter your password, the less time someone needs to crack it. Only 30% of users use passwords longer than six symbols.

If you are willing to stop using these kinds of passwords, check out

What a Strong Password Should Look Like

It should consist of letters with a different casing, special symbols, and numbers. And it is considered wise to make it over 6 characters long – basically as long as possible. In essence, this password should have very little to do with the examples I gave you just now.

You should also consider creating different passwords for your accounts. It could be hard work and you could forget them easily. Still, statistics show an average UK citizen forgets around 49 passwords on average.

Of course, it is hard to remember over a hundred passwords. So one of the ways to keep it simple is by using a password manager (which will also include a secure password generator). This is a good option for users who value their security. Software of this type can create sophisticated passwords for your various accounts and then store them encrypted. When using that kind of software, all you have to remember is just one password.

There are lots of people who create a good password once and then use variations of it. This is also a relatively bad idea because if one of your accounts is hijacked, others can fall like dominoes.

It is also considered a security risk to write down your passwords, especially on digital devices. If they are stolen, or hacked, you can kiss your accounts goodbye.

How to Create a Strong Password? (and then remember it)

password tips and tricks

The best way to create a hard-to-crack password is to think of a sentence, which you can easily remember, and transfer it into code (Tip #1). This will prevent almost anyone from breaching your account. At the very least – it will massively hinder the process.

Here is an example – I have a wife and two kids. Sounds simple enough, doesn’t it?

Here is the transformation – Ihv1Wf&2Kds. Just by removing every vowel after “I” and changing some words into symbols we’ve successfully created a strong password. Of course, you can choose another sentence or a phrase that suits you better and will be easy to remember.

Here is another example, to make sure we got this straight. There is a phrase from Leo Tolstoy, that I particularly like. It goes like this – “If you want to be happy, be”.

We can transform it into IUw2B:)B.

If you choose such a password and want to use it in more than one account, make sure you personalize it for each account.

For example, if you want to use your skills of creating unique passwords for Netflix, you could change it into “IUw2B:)Bn3tFl!x.

Of course, these are just examples. You can modify your password however you like, but try to use different casings, numbers and special symbols. Also, be original and create a password that makes sense to you (and hopefully to no one else), so it would be easy to remember.

Just remember that one of the most important things about passwords is to:

Try to Be Creative with Your Password

Keep in mind that malware sees your password as a game of “Mastermind”. The more complex your password is, the more time it will take the malware, or a hacker to crack it. I’m talking about years and decades here, not merely hours.

Anyway, FYI, a computer can try 350 billion combinations every second. If you think your password security is up to snuff, think again.

There is another small issue that could mislead you to think you have a good password. It will be easier to explain if we make up a story.

Here’s the deal:

You are on a date with a pretty girl/guy in a restaurant. For the sake of example let’s call the restaurant “Dating”*.

*Offtopic: I googled my first dozen ideas of a name to find one that’s not taken. So if you want to open a restaurant, “Dating” is available. Because not only do I wish to help you create the best passwords, you’re also getting free business information. You are welcome 🙂 I aim to please.

So back to the story. You are at “Dating” with a lovely company. Everything’s great, and eventually, at some point, you come home. You can’t fall asleep. So, like every normal person you go online to pass the time. First, you will probably spend some time on social media or check your email.  Eventually, you find an interesting site to shop, browse, or do other stuff.

Now you have to register at this new site and here comes my tip #2: Avoid involving emotion when creating a password! When looking for good password ideas, “Dating” or the name of your date may come first on your list, because you are emotionally involved with the evening’s events. Even if you don’t realize it outright. And this is a password that could: A) Be easily forgotten in time, or B) be easily hacked. That’s one of the less obvious things to consider when creating a password.

Conclusion

Thank you for reading until the end. If you’re here, you should be ready to face the years to come secure and able to survive through security breaches unscathed. Just be sure to use the tips I gave you while avoiding the bad password examples I mentioned.

By the way, this is the right place to give you one more security tip. No site or institution will ever ask you for your password, neither via email or phone. So if this happens to you, be sure it’s a fraud.

Keep the following in mind – your passwords are your keys to the online world. Since we pretty much do everything online, they are really important. I think we’ve successfully covered the question of “How to create a strong password?”, so keep these pieces of advice in mind when creating new accounts. Also, consider updating your older passwords as well. Take care!

Interesting fact: Japanese professor Isao Echizen warns not to take selfies while showing the “Peace” sign with our fingers, because hackers could be able to replicate our fingerprints from the photos.

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