The Complete Guide to Creating a Secure Password
The web has seriously simplified our existence. We can now complete everything – or almost everything – online, in a matter of seconds, regardless of where we are. But of course, there is a downside. The online world exposes us to a high risk of theft of important data such as bank details, various accounts and sensitive personal information.
So how do we protect ourselves? By equipping our accounts (like the one for your website builder) with strong and unique passwords. It’s essential to know how to build a password that is impossible for even the best hacker to figure out. If you’re not sure where to start, we’ve put together a step-by-step guide to setting a strong password to help keep all of your personal information safe.
Make it long (but don’t get carried away)
Rule of thumb; the longer the password, the stronger the password. Hackers use algorithms which automatically and continuously test all possible combinations of a password, until they find the correct one. So, each character added to your password will act as an additional barrier for spyware, which will considerably slow hackers down. But don’t go overboard! While a long password offers maximum security, you’re also more likely to forget it. Try to find a password that is easy for you to remember, but difficult for others to guess. Computer security experts believe that the strongest passwords are between 8 and 12 signs.
Creating a password is like creating a cocktail; you can’t be afraid to mix several ingredients. The algorithms used by hackers are usually designed to try every word in the dictionary at random. You can complicate things for a hacker by incorporating characters and improbable combinations. A good password should contain numbers and letters (uppercase and lowercase) and special characters (such as %, +, * or $). Here’s an example that follows these recommendations and, oddly enough, one that we like a lot: “Wix4ev€R2016.” According to a password checker, this combination of letters, numbers and symbols would take 11 billion years for a standard computer to figure out! With a 102-key keyboard, your chances of coming up with a hard-to-crack combo is extremely high.
Build a “phrase” password
This is one of tactics former NSA agent Edward Snowden, who one might call a password expert, used. As he explains in the video below, the best way to create a strong password, is to create a short sentence. Why? Because a sentence is both long (and difficult to crack) and much simpler to remember than one password on its own. Once you have chosen your sentence, there are several methods you can use to turn it into a password. One trick is to use only the first two letters of each word from your sentence. You can also use phonetics to replace syllables with numbers or letters.
Avoid using personal information
This should go without saying, but you should never use a password sequence that relates to your personal information. For example, if your name is Elizabeth, using a password like “Elizabeth123” is not recommended. Birthdays and the names of family, friends or pets are also highly discouraged. This will be the first type of password a cyber pirate will try when looking to hack.
Change your password regularly
If you want to ensure your password stays a secret, you’ll need to change it every 3 months. We know it’s one of those nagging tasks, but trust us, you’ll be much more annoyed if you get hacked and have all of your important files and documents taken from you.
Never use the same password
With more and more websites requiring authentication, it’s tempting to choose one password that you can use everywhere, but don’t fall for that trap! It’s imperative you use a different password for each platform you use. When you duplicate your login credentials on one platform, you become more vulnerable to hackers looking to attack you in other places. So, do as your grandmother always told you and don’t put all your eggs in one basket!
On the same token, a common practice these days is to use Facebook or Google to log into other sites. Logging in with one main account saves you the hassle of creating accounts and logging into other sites. However, we advise you take caution when doing this. Logging into other websites using Google or Facebook allows those websites to obtain data about you regarding your habits and preferences. While that isn’t necessarily a bad thing, if one of these websites is hacked due to low security, the rest of your accounts connected can also be compromised.
Keep your password confidential
Your password is kind of like your toothbrush; you shouldn’t share it with anyone (relatives included.) The risks of someone else, intentionally or accidentally, leaking your password is far too high. So keep your lips sealed! If you thought to share your password with a friend for safe-keeping, think again. Instead, kick it old-school and write it on a post-it note somewhere private.
Take advantage of the tools and applications available
The web is chock-full of tools to help you manage your passwords. Our favorite? The sites that evaluate the security, of course. Password Checker Online, The Password Meter and Microsoft Password Checker are among the most used and they’re totally free. Simply enter the password you plan to use and their algorithms will evaluate its strength in just one second.
Backup applications are also very important for you to consider. These tools centralize your access codes to all sites in a single database, which you’ll have access to through a single (strong and secure) password of your choosing. So all you’ll need to remember is that single identifier for all of your accounts and profiles.
Ready to start your [secure] journey on the web? Create a free website with Wix!
By Jillian Altit