In a world where virtually everything is available online, internet security is more important than ever. From bank accounts and medical records to social media and entertainment, our personal information is accessible to anyone curious enough to look for it.
Keeping your online data secure should be a top priority. While it’s tempting to use one master password for all your secure accounts, if that password is ever compromised all your online data is at risk.
To keep yourself and your information safe, you need unique passwords for each website that are difficult for someone to guess, while also easy for you to remember.
So how can you create unique, secure passwords that you won’t forget? Let’s take a look at what weak passwords look like, how to create strong passwords, and what you can do to keep them safe.
What makes a weak password?
When creating a password, you want to avoid anything that can be easily hacked by cyber criminals, or even someone with access to your social media accounts.
- No common words or phrases with standard dictionary spelling.
- Don’t use names or nicknames of family members, including pets.
- Exclude important dates, such as anniversaries or birthdays.
- Do not use your address, including your street number or name, city, or state.
- Don’t mention obvious hobbies or interests.
- Avoid characters in sequential order (12345 or ABCDE) or common keyboard paths (QWERTY).
- Don’t use any variation of the word password. “Pa$$w0rd“ is not as unique as you think it is.
What makes a strong password?
After reading the above list, it might be hard to think of what you can include in a secure password. Here are some best practices for creating a strong password.
- Use a unique combination of uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers, and special characters.
- Use a phrase. Try a variation of your favorite quote, song lyric, family motto, or company vision statement. Rearrange the words, use initials, or swap out some of the letters for numbers and symbols.
- Get creative with standard words. Combine at least two random words with special characters and numbers.
- Try emoticons. You can’t add emojis to passwords, but you can add emoticons using punctuation, letters and numbers. Think =0 , or :}.
- Add some length. The strongest passwords are at least 10 characters long.
Our favorite method for creating strong passwords uses a common element that’s easy to remember combined with a custom element for each site. This allows you to create unique, secure passwords for each website that are almost impossible to guess.
For example, let’s use the phrase “But first, coffee” followed by the first four letters of the website domain name. As long as you remember the pattern, you can create a unique password for each site.
- B#1c&amaz_Lg (But first coffee and Amazon login)
- B#1c&gmai_Lg (But first coffee and Gmail login)
- B#1c&bank_Lg (But first coffee and bank login)
Keep your passwords secure.
Once you’ve created your strong passwords, it’s time to keep them safe.
- Use an online password manager like 1Password, which creates an online password vault to keep your logins secure. You simply create a strong master password for 1Password, and the system will securely store all your login information for you.
- Type your passwords into a secure text document, stored in a cloud service device. Just be sure the master password for your cloud storage is secure.
- Go old school! Write down your passwords in a notebook and store it in a safe location.
Let us be your trusted advisor.
At Open Sky, we are constantly looking for ways to support and educate our clients on safely navigating the digital world. The internet is vast. Let us help!
From password security to website design, we want to set you up for success by empowering you to make the safest choices online. With our Essential Site Care Plan, we support any issue that arises while your site is in our care. Never fear a broken or hacked website again.
Ready to chat more about online security and keeping your website safe? Let’s connect with a free 15-minute consultation.
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