10 Ways to Create Strong Passwords

How strong are your passwords? In the movie SpaceBalls, the password to all the earth’s natural resources was…12345. It’s a comedy but you get the idea. All those efforts to control the planet and the password is child’s play. I attended a course in London last year and one of the topics covered security. Here are some ways to strengthen your passwords and also how to show others the mistakes to avoid.

10 Ways to avoid weak, easy-to-guess passwords

This week we look at how to setup a strong password and test its strength. I’ll also look at the type of mistakes people make when creating passwords and how to avoid these.

  1. Avoid sequences of word or repeated characters. Examples of these are “12345678,” “778899″ “abcdefg,”
  2. Letters on your keyboard that sit next to each other are also a mistake. For example, qwertqwert.  These are very weak passwords.
  3. Avoid using look-alike substitutions of numbers and symbols. This means that you don’t replace an ‘i’ with a ‘1′ or an ‘a’ with ‘@’ as in “M1cr0$0ft” or “P@ssw0rd. These are too easy to guess.Paypal, Security, Password, Ebay, eJunkie, Clickbank, Adsense,  Blogger, post, shortcuts, FireFox
  4. However, these substitutions can be effective when combined with other measures, such as length, misspellings, or variations in upper and lowercase, to improve the strength of your password.
  5. Avoid your login name.
  6. Don’t use any part of your name, birthday, social security number.
  7. Avoid words from the dictionary.
  8. Tools can guess passwords based on words in multiple dictionaries, including words spelled backwards, common misspellings, and substitutions.
  9. Use password combinations. If any one of the computers or websites using your password is compromised, then all of your other information protected by that password will be compromised as well. Use different passwords for different systems.
  10. Don’t store your password online.

I know this sounds obvious but, if others find your passwords stored online (or on a networked computer), they have access to all your information.

How to create strong passwords:

  • Passwords should be 8 or more characters in length; 14 characters or more is ideal.
  • Strongest passwords combine both length and different types of symbols.
  • Long passwords are stronger than short ones.
  • The more characters you add to your password, the more you increase its level of protection.
  • Use symbols by holding down the ‘Shift’ key and typing a number are very useful in developing strong passwords.
  • Choose symbols unique to your language.
  • Use the space bar in passwords.
  • Combine letters, numbers, and symbols.
  • The greater the combination you use in your password, the harder it is to guess.

Remember to change your passwords on a regular basic, for example, every six weeks. If you’re planning on opening a PayPal or Ebay account to buy and sell goods online, then I think you should read this. There’s no point making all this money, if someone can walk in a run off with your profits.

What do you think? How do you create strong passwords?

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