By Kevin Bourke
July 19, 2021
Below are some tips and tricks for ensuring you have secure passwords that will effectively protect your accounts.
What to avoid while making secure passwords:
1. Avoid common passwords, or words that can be guessed easily. You should avoid personal information for your passwords. For example, you should avoid using your name, your spouse’s name, your children’s names, pet names, birthdates, etc. This information may be accessible on social media or by other means and it is an easy way for hackers to gain access to your accounts.
2. Avoid dictionary words or passwords that can be easily guessed. Avoid passwords that are common, for example using “password”, or any numbers in sequence such as 12345. You should also avoid dictionary words, for example a basic word like “water”. A simple lowercase word is not a secure password.
3. Do not use the same password for multiple accounts. If any of your accounts do get hacked for some reason, it is important that your passwords are different for your other online accounts. If the password is the same for all, the hacker will be able to gain access to all your accounts.
How to make a secure password:
1. Use a variety of uppercase and lowercase letters and add numbers and symbols. Your passwords should include letters, numbers, and symbols. The letters should be a variety of uppercase and lowercase. An example of a secure password using these components is: FiNance/8$. This password combines uppercase and lowercase letters, as well as numbers and symbols. This is a secure password.
2. Your password should be at least 8 characters long. Longer passwords are generally more difficult to hack. If you just used the word “finance” as a password, it is only 7 characters and is not a secure password.
3. Use a mnemonic phrase, or a goal-setting password. To avoid using a dictionary word, you can use a mnemonic phrase. For example, if you love the song “Strawberry Fields Forever” by the Beatles, your password could be a mnemonic phrase of the first line of the song (Let me take you down, ‘cause I’m going to the Strawberry Fields) and it would be: LMTYDCIGTTSF. To make this password secure, vary the uppercase and lowercase letters and add symbols and numbers. Example: LmTyDcIGtT/SF!8. You can also try a goal setting password, for example if you are trying to get in shape and lose 10 pounds. You can make a mnemonic phrase and the password could be “GISAL10LBS” Then to make it secure, you should add numbers and symbols and vary the uppercase and lowercase letters. This is a great way to remind yourself of goals while keeping your accounts secure!
Need help creating and remembering your secure passwords? Password services can help you. Dashlane, 1Password, LastPass and KeePass are all great password services that can help you with easy log-ins and creation of secure passwords. These programs can help generate extremely secure passwords for each of your accounts and will store them for you. You are then able to access the secure passwords with a master password of your choosing. Dashlane, LastPass and KeePass also offer two-factor authentication for added security of your passwords.
Use two-factor authentication. Many sites offer two-factor authentication, so when you sign onto your account, they send a code to your phone that you then must enter to access your account. This is a great way of protecting your accounts because even if hackers do hack your password, they will still be unable to gain access without this code.