Do you use the same password everywhere and if you are forced to change it, you just add an extra number? If so, you are not the only one and the hackers know it. A lot of people use passwords that serious hackers can guess with a blink of an eye. Some even use ordinary names or names of famous fictitious characters. This makes it very easy for hackers to guess the password.
If you are nervous about whether or not your password has been hacked, you can use the resource haveibeenpwned.com/ All you have to do is to enter your e-mail and it will let you know if it is related to any known data breach.
How do you create a great password?
Have you gotten advice that said a strong password should contain both lower and upper case letters, numbers, special characters, be about 200 characters long, and changed frequently? Complex passwords that are changed often are not necessarily the best way to protect yourself from hackers.
The reason is that a lot of users change their password to something that reminds of the previous password each time a change is required, and the result is that the security gets worse instead of better.
The length of your password is often more important than the complexity. So use a long and less complex password then a short one with special characters and numbers.
When the password is less complex you should use at least 20 characters.
To give you maximal protection you should activate two-factor authentication if it is possible as it increases your security considerably.
Let’s create a great password
Begin by thinking of a sentence. It can be something personal that is easy to remember but choose something that is not widely known and definitely not known online.
Take the first two characters from each word in the sentence. They should alternate between being uppercase and lowercase.
So “Remember to take the car to the mechanic at 10 am tomorrow!” becomes “ReToTaThCaToThMeAt10AmTo!”
It is important that the password is at least 12 characters long.
You can use special characters to make the password a bit more complex.
“Remember to take the car to the mechanic at 10 am tomorrow for its regular check” becomes “RtTt#tTmA1AtFiR#”. Notice the sentence is a bit longer to get the password over 12 characters and that C’s or c’s have been replaced with “#”.
Another option is to use random words that have no connection to each other but still are easy to remember. Keep in mind that if you don’t use special characters the password has to be at least 20 characters long.
You can make up your own rules to make your password stronger.
For example, it can be that every second character is upper case, that o is replaced with zero and l is replaced with 1 and e with 3.
So “travel pie rain pencil postman street” becomes “tRaV3LpiErAiNp3nCi1p0sTmAnStR33t”
Are There Other Options?
A lot of people think it is hard to create strong passwords and to remember them. Particularly because you should use different passwords everywhere just in case one website or app is hacked.
There is a solution. If you use a password manager you will no longer have to remember every password. Instead, you just have to remember a master password. The password manager will remember all the passwords and it will also generate strong passwords for each login, so you don’t have to do it.
One of the very best password managers is Lastpass which you can find here.
It is important that you think about which passwords you use and, for most users, we recommend that they use a password manager to keep their logins safe.