In the wake of the recent breach of security at LinkedIn resulting in an unspecified number of leaked passwords (source), I thought I would share with you my top 5 tips on setting a secure password, and keeping your passwords secure.
1. Use a different password for every website/program
Creating a different one completely from scratch will definitely result in forgetting the passwords, and needing to write them down. Thus completely negating the use of creating them in the first place. A common, and helpful, tip for creating passwords is to have a standard password (let’s select Password1 even though that is a very silly password) and a standard algorithm for how you differentiate. For example, with Password1 maybe before the 1 we use the second last letter of the name of the website. E.g:
- Amazon – Passwordo1
- Twitter – Passworde1
- LinkedIn – Passwordi1
2. Use different character classes
Using lower case, upper case, numbers, symbols and alt characters are the best way to strengthen your password. Personally, I get really angry at websites that don’t let me use symbols. By mixing it up a bit, you make your password harder to guess.
3. Use a phrase
Using a phrase or a few unrelated words is the most effective way to begin your password. This is far more secure than using one word, as one word can easily be guessed. Select either a phrase you can easily remember (e.g. The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog) or words that normally would not be put together (e.g. angry tractor potatoes).
To condense a phrase you can either remove all vowels from the phrase or use only the first letter of each word. It is then recommended to add capitals or replace letters with numbers/symbols. E.g. “the quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog” could be:
- thqckbrwnfxjmpsvrthlzydg – no vowels
- tqbfjotld – first letter only
- +qBfj0t1d – first letter only with capitals, numbers and symbols
Alternatively, although less secure, is to keep the phrase whole and replace letters with capitals and symbols. If you choose to do this, use a random phrase not a well known one. E.g: “angry tractor potatoes” could be:
4. Replace words with numbers
Instead of using a word, use the numbers on a phone keypad that represent that word, e.g. “LOVE” becomes 5623. If you are going to do this, ensure you are using more than one word or it becomes quite easy to crack. E.g: “angry tractor potatoes” could be:
5. Change them regularly
The best passwords in the world could be figured out if they are not updated regularly. Changing your passwords periodically is the best method of security there is.
Are your passwords secure? Do you have any tips for keeping passwords secure?
Tamsin Howse has written 180 posts.
Tamsin is a wife, stepmother and blogger with a passion for people and relationships, fashion and beauty, and an inability to successfully complete household tasks. Co-founder and Editor-in-chief of KiKi & Tea.
Follow on twitter: @TamsinHowse