Most internet users are lazy with their passwords. They rarely update their passwords and reuse them across several different websites. Developing good password habits can drastically reduce the chances of someone hacking into your online accounts. It is important to use passwords that are difficult to crack, but it is also important to update them regularly. Here are some tips and examples on how to develop your passwords.
Steps to creating a strong password:
The first step to making a strong password is length. The longer the password is, the more difficult it will be to crack and the more likely it is to be unique. It can be difficult to come up with ideas regarding long passwords, so we suggest to use phrases that are easy to remember. Phrases that are true are easier to remember, but it is important to avoid basic facts such as birthdays, as they can be easy to guess. Instead, try choosing a mundane fact about your life like the phrase “my lawn mower is blue”. From this, you can derive the password phrase mylawnmowerisblue. If the website allows for spaces, make sure to add them in, as they will make your password length longer, contributing to password security. Not all websites allow spaces, so we will continue with mylawnmowerisblue. This password is 17 characters long, and it is a great start, but it could be more secure.
The second step to developing good passwords is adding a variety of special characters and letter capitalization. Many websites require at least one uppercase and lowercase letter as well as a special character and number in passwords as they dramatically increase their level of security. These special characters aren’t commonly used, so it can be difficult to remember how you used them in your password. One easy method is swapping the vowels AEIO and the letter S with special characters and numbers. For example, A = @, E = 3, I = 1, O = 0, and S = $. This would convert our previous password from mylawnmowerisblue to myl@wnm0w3r1sblu3. This is significantly harder to crack or guess than “qwerty”, “password”, or “12345678”, all of which are some of the most common passwords on the internet.
With these 2 steps, we have quickly generated a password that is more secure than that of 99% of internet users. All there is left to do to keep strong passwords habits is to update the password periodically. Many sources recommend changing passwords every 3 or 6 months. When people change their passwords that frequently, they can forget their passwords more easily, or they may stay away from developing complex passwords like the one above. If your password is complex, and you don’t share it with anyone else, it is healthy to update it once per year. Make a habit of it, and update your password on the same day every year so you don’t forget. Update it on New Year’s Day, or your birthday. Set a calendar reminder so you are alerted.
Lastly, even the most complex passwords are unsafe if you share them with other people. Refrain from sharing your important passwords with others. Even if you trust them not to harm you, they may not have as strong security habits, putting the password at jeopardy. It may seem harmless to share a Netflix password with a friend, but you could be in trouble if that friend shares it with their friend, and you reused that password for other accounts such as your email. Next thing you know, people you are not close friends with could access your email and private information. This is also the reason why it is important to have different passwords for different websites and services. When asking yourself “how safe is my password?” think about everyone who has access to it, and decide whether you should change it.
Hopefully these passwords tricks and tips help you develop more secure habits online. Please draw inspiration from the strong password examples and suggestions we highlighted.