How to Create a Strong Password

How to Create a Strong Password

Passwords are an essential aspect of privacy and protecting our information online. They are the barrier between the internet, and the corners of it with our bank information, work log ins, personal photos and more. Because they are created uniquely by us, we can take the extra steps to keep our data secure and passwords strong for every account.  

Not only should you have a strong password, but you should have a different password for every account– no reusing. In an online poll by Google and Harris Poll, 52% of respondents reuse passwords across multiple accounts and 13% said they use the same password for all accounts. This is a huge security risk because once someone has access to one account, they also have access to the rest. 

Here are some guidelines for creating strong passwords.

Characteristics of strong passwords (Do’s):

  • Contain both upper and lower case characters (e.g., a-z, A-Z)
  • Have digits and punctuation characters as well as letters (e.g., 0-9, !@#$%^&*()_+|~-=\`{}[]:”;'<>?,./)
  • Are at least eight alphanumeric characters long
  • Are not a word in any language, slang, dialect, jargon, etc.
  • Are not based on personal information, names of family, etc.
  • Passwords should never be written down or stored online. Try to create passwords that can be easily remembered. One way to do this is to create a password based on a song title, affirmation, or other phrase. For example, the phrase might be “This might Be One Way To Remember,” and the password could be: “TmB1w2R!” or “TmB1W>R!” or some other variation. (Do not use either of these examples as passwords!)

Characteristics of weak passwords (Don’ts):

  • Contain less than eight characters
  • Can be found in a dictionary (English or foreign)
  • Are names of family, pets, friends, co-workers, fantasy characters, etc.
  • Are computer terms or names, commands, sites, companies, hardware, software
  • Use birthdays and other personal information such as addresses and phone numbers
  • Utilize word or number patterns like aaabbb, qwerty, zyxwvuts, 123321, etc.
  • Include any of the above spelled backwards
  • Include any of the above preceded or followed by a digit (e.g., secret1, 1secret)

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