It’s hard to comprehend that between four to 20 characters is all that stands in the way of a hacker stealing your identity to your online accounts. When you think of it in those terms, it makes you want to cover your ass and make your passwords impenetrable. We’ve put together a few tips and tricks to create strong passwords.
Common Passwords Are So Common
Here’s a good rule of thumb – if a word can be found in the dictionary, it’s not strong enough to be a password. Don’t use your birthday, your kid’s birthday, your dog’s birthday, your ex-husband’s baseball team’s name – they just don’t cut it. Even if it’s a name followed by a number, hackers will try those combinations, too. There are programs out there that hackers use to check passwords – yikes, that’s a scary thought!
Super strong passwords contain a mix of letters (upper and lower case), numbers and special characters. They should all be random, there shouldn’t be any proper words involved and it should be longer than eight characters. You can spell a word backwards, substitute numbers for certain letters and throw in some capital letters and characters for good measure. And once you have your new passwords, jot them down on a piece of paper and keep them in a safe spot. In fact, go ahead and photocopy that list – you may forget where you’ve hidden it. Keep a copy in your wallet or in the freezer (to keep it fresh). You can even check the strength of your new passwords on a site such as How Secure is My Password?.
There’s A Program For That
If you don’t trust yourself to create strong passwords, the Internet is full of third-party password tools that can help out. Here are a few you can try out:
- PC Tools Secure Password Generator
- Strong Password Generator
- Dynamic Drive
Just For Fun
According to SplashData, here are the worst passwords for 2012. This list was compiled from common passwords that are posted by hackers. If any of them look familiar, stop reading this article and go change it. Now!