It's easy to be lazy and use the same password for every online account but, using these simple techniques, you'll be able to create new strong passwords for different websites.
With the a new hacking scandal in the news every other week, everyone should be concerned about the security of their online accounts. Here are a few simple techniques for creating strong passwords - and remembering them.
Avoid using the following passwords, which a surprising number of people use: password, QWERTY, 123456, 00000 etc. Also, don’t use information that can be guessed with minimal effort. For example, Mike Sanders would be advised against opting for a username of “Mike” with “Sanders” as his password. Similarly, avoid the name of your spouse, children or pets, birthdays and any other details that can be discovered from social networking sites and elsewhere.
Some experts even suggest that passwords shouldn’t include any words of the English language or place names. Instead, they recommend that passwords include upper and lower case letters, numbers, punctuation and least least six or eight characters in total – the longer the better. Although such passwords are not easy to remember, if you use password manager or another utility that stores your paswords securely it doesn’t matter.
It also pays to enable two-step authentication where available. This is a two-step login process so merely having a password isn't enough. For example, a code may be sent to your mobile phone during login, and you need to enter the code as the second stage. It's not as convenient but it's miles more secure. Google, Twitter, Dropbox, Evernote, Amazon, LinkedIn, Yahoo, PayPal, Microsoft and others all offer two-step verification now, but you'll need to manually enable this in your account settings.
How to create a new strong password
It's still important to have a strong password though. A good way of generating a new password that is hard to guess but easy to remember is to devise a phrase that contains ordinary words, names of people or places (so they start with a capital letter) and numbers. Your password is then obtained by taking the first letter of each word except for the numbers which are represented by figures. So, if your phrase was “Mike is thirty two miles from New York” the password would be Mi32mfNY.
Similarly, you can create a password using a line from something easy to remember such as a song or nursery rhyme. It's easy to remember the first letter from each word of "Twinkle, twinkle Little Star, how I wonder what you are" and turns into this seven-character password: TtLShIwwya. Again, names make it easy to introduce upper-case characters.
You can also substitute characters for symbols, numbers or punctuation. Replace any letter 'i's with 1s and any 'a's with 4s and your password becomes much harder to crack. 'Friday', then, becomes 'Fr1d4y', which is a strong password.
How to remember a new passwords
Password manager will help you to remember lots of strong passwords (making it more likely you will actually use one), but provides no protection from hackers if you continue to use passwords that those with criminal intent might be able to guess.
If you need to remember multiple passwords, an easy way to avoid forgetting which website they're for it to use its name (or part of it) in your password. You can combine this with any of the techniques we've suggested to create new a long, memorable password. Your Twitter password could be TwitM4tr1x, a combination of the website's name and your favourite movie, with some number substitutions thrown in for good measure. It's a password that's impossible to guess, extremely hard to crack, yet easy to remember.