How to Make a Secure Password

After Twitter halted an attack on its servers that caused 250,000 accounts and their passwords compromised, not to mention a string of hacking incidents among media websites, people worry about creating passwords that are strong enough to withstand hackers and keyloggers.

You see, plain passwords no longer cut it. As Lauren Gores of Mashable puts it: “You may think you are clever, but to hackers, your password sounds like ‘Open Sesame.’ People still use lousy, predictable passwords.” So predictable that a recent survey finds that the most common password is “password”; next is “123456”.

Here are some of other tips Mashable provided to keep Internet users from committing errors in creating their passwords:

Don’t reuse passwords – Never use the same password to multiple accounts. Your e-mail password should be different from the one you use for Facebook and the password you log in to access your bank account.

Avoid dictionary terms – Any word available in the dictionary, including Urban Dictionary, are not ideal passwords. Hackers can simply create a database of possible passwords based on entries included in the Oxford Dictionary and once the database spots one of its entries that matches your password, you–along with your online account–are doomed. Mashable advises to “string words together,” or putting together unlikely word combinations.

Substituted numbers and symbols are not safe – Hackers have already figured out that with the introduction of the Leet Internet language, people use the likes of “pa55w012d” (password) or “l3+m3!n” (letmein) as their passwords. Add numbers or symbols at random instead.

The longer, the better – Notice how common passwords are 8-characters long at most. This is because some websites require a minimum of eight characters in creating passwords. People think eight is enough, but it is not.

Use a password generator – The Internet provides a resource of websites that creates randomly-generated passwords for you. Mashable recommends the Secure Password Generator from Symantec. Just click the options you want to see in you password (we recommend checking all of them), then click “Generate Password.” The result shows a random password (such as “wAf2-eMu4edR”), including a phonetic pronunciation to avoid confusion (whiskey-ALPHA-foxtrot-Two-Dash… you know the drill).

Use a password manager – If you have difficulty memorizing more than one password, a password manager like 1Password is handy. The service stores your username-password combinations of your online accounts. Just click on where you want to log in and the service takes you there instantly. While some browsers ask you to let them save passwords, this is not recommended if you have a shared computer (or in case your computer got lost). However, some password managers do not come cheap (1Password, for instance, costs $24.99). Those who are looking for cost-free alternatives may opt for the likes of KeePass, which is an open-source software.

Finally, we recommend to keep your guard up. No matter how perfect your password is, there is someone out there who is determined to crack it. While companies like Google have yet to release a hardware meant to manage your passwords, change your passwords regularly.

Source: Mashable

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