10 Qualities of Good Passwords

Keeping your information secure online can be challenging. You use the internet for everything: online banking, paying bills, and communicating important and confidential information. Even access to your social media accounts needs to be kept private. That means that you need to develop strong passwords that will keep others out of your online business. Many websites have their own idea of a “strong” password. They want letters, numbers, special characters, and capital letters randomly interspersed through a password of a specific number of characters. You may have found yourself wondering how many of these security features are really necessary for building a strong password. If you really want to keep your vital information secure, there are several qualities your password should contain.

Make it Unique

It’s different from your other passwords. Yes, it’s easier to use the same password for everything. That way, you don’t have to stretch your memory as you try to figure out what variation you used for a given website. There’s just one problem with this method: if someone figures out your password to one thing, they have it for everything else you access. Instead, use a different password for the things that really matter. The unimportant websites, like your coupon websites, access to online games that don’t require real-world funds, and message boards, can have the same, easy-to-remember password. For the sites like Paypal, your bank, and other websites that contain confidential information, use a separate, secure password to protect your information.

No recognizable words

Your password should not be a dictionary word or a name. These are the first passwords to be broken, as well as being easy to guess. Likewise, a phrase or sentence, even without spaces, is not an appropriate password.

Make it memorable

Your password should be something you can remember. Storing your passwords on your computer can help you keep access to your sites with more convoluted passwords, but it won’t help you if you need to access the site from another device or are having computer trouble. Instead, choose a password that you’ll be able to remember. Come up with a phrase that you can easily remember, then use the first letter of each word in the phrase; use your children’s initials in order; use another series of letters that has particular significance to you, but won’t be memorable to anyone else.

Make it longer

Make your password as long as possible. A short password is easier to crack than one that has plenty of length behind it. The longer your password, the safer you’ll be. Many sites have limits on how many characters you’re allowed to use, and, of course, there’s a limit on your memory. Longer passwords, however, can help keep your vital information secure.

Make it special (characters)

Use a mixture of upper and lower case letters, numbers, and symbols. Many users have fallen away from this key facet of security, especially as mobile use has gone up. It’s a lot more trouble to enter in all those different symbols from a mobile device; however, it also allows you a much greater level of security.

Break the pattern

Try not to use recognizable patterns. For example, using letters or numbers in order or repeating a sequence can make your password easier to crack. Some people think that a simple string of numbers–repeating 0’s, “123456789”–is a long enough password to keep them safe. Unfortunately, these passwords are easy for either computers or hackers to crack.

It’s not about you

Don’t use easily accessible information about yourself to create your password. Your birthday, anniversary, and the names of your children are out there for anyone to discover, probably as part of your social media accounts. When you use this information as part of your password, it’s easy for anyone to guess. Instead, choose something that not just anyone would know, and scramble your information. You should also select little-known information about yourself for your password reset questions. If your grandmother is on your Facebook friends list, “Mother’s maiden name” is no longer a secure piece of information.

Watch where you store it

Be careful where you store your passwords. With all these long, complex passwords, it can be tempting to save them on your phone or in a document on your computer. While that’s a perfectly valid method of keeping track of that important information, it’s also a great way to have your passwords stolen. Make sure that your computer and phone are as secure as possible before using them to store your important passwords. Consider leaving yourself hints without actually writing out the password itself.

Always shut it down

Secure passwords are found on sites that log you off automatically. If you aren’t logged off automatically when you walk away from your device, make sure that you’re taking the time to log off manually: you don’t want to end up accidentally sharing important information with someone who shouldn’t have access.

Get creative with it

Use special characters creatively. Consider, for example, replacing “S” with “$” or “E” with “3” in your standard passwords. This allows you to mix things up without coming up with a random series of characters that you won’t be able to remember later.

Its a digital world

Keeping your passwords secure and hard to guess can feel like one of the greatest challenges you’ll undertake in today’s tech-savvy society. Fortunately, by following these tips, you can enhance the security of your important sites, improve your ability to access them, and remind yourself of those passwords without leaving them sitting out for anyone to find. When you keep your passwords strong, you keep yourself safe. It decreases the odds that your identity will be stolen, your bank accounts drained without your knowledge or permission, or even your social media or email accounts used without your permission. It’s your login information. Keep it to yourself!

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