Feature Article

February 03, 2021

How to Create a Strong Password to Outsmart Hackers



Hackers are always looking for vulnerabilities, and one of the easiest things to exploit is a poor password. Around 80% of company data breaches occur because of either weak passwords, poorly maintained passwords, or improper storage of passwords and login credentials. All of us can do our part to create a more secure internet by taking passwords seriously, and not falling into the mistakes that could cost us more than just our Facebook or Netflix account.

Creating strong passwords is the first link in the chain of cybersecurity, and if you’re not sure where to start, you’re in the right place. In this guide, we’ll take a look at some of the most important password habits, how to create the strongest passwords possible, and why a password manager might be the tool missing in your cybersecurity arsenal.

Don’t Make It Obvious

The top passwords of 2020 included the likes of “123456”, “password”, and “password1”. The first step to securing your passwords is to not make them so obvious. You wouldn’t think anyone would use password as an actual password, but it was one of the most-used passwords of the last few years, not just 2020. It’s easy to remember, sure, but a simple dictionary attack would likely crack the password in a matter of seconds.

A good rule of thumb to follow is to not use any common phrases or simple words in your passwords. That means anything you can find in the dictionary is not an option. A dictionary attack is just what it sounds like: an attack that compares words found in the dictionary against login credentials to see if there’s a match. If you’re using “password”, it won’t take long to hack.

Some people use words like “love” or “my”, which are common and easy to crack. Make your passwords as unique as possible, and don’t use any words found in the dictionary.

Length Of Your Password

Experts agree that the longer your password is, the better, but it’s understandable that a really long password isn’t always possible or practical. However, you should still follow some golden rules with password lengths.

Your password should always be at the very least 12 characters long, but a good minimum to stick to is 16 characters.

Passwords above 16 characters are very secure, so shoot for somewhere between 16 and 20 when possible.

Don’t make your passwords anything less than 11 characters for any reason.

These are just a few quick tips for your password lengths. Of course, results will vary based on website constraints. Some sites have length limits/character limits, so work with what you’ve got. A password under 11 characters is considered poor.

The Personal Information Trap

We’ve all done it (yes, you too). You needed a quick password, didn’t feel like using your password generator, or needed something easy to remember, so you went with what you know. You used your birthday, the last four digits of your phone number, and your last name. Seems secure, right? It’s a combination of letters and numbers, after all.

Perhaps the most important rule of creating better passwords is to never include self-identifying information. That includes birthdays, addresses, telephone numbers, SS numbers, company numbers, employee numbers, names, etc. The list goes on and on, but the point remains: don’t use any information related to you or your family or workplace.

This is the first thing a hacker would look for in a password, especially when so many people do it. If you’re a password recycler as well, you’ve essentially compromised all of your accounts with a single mistake. About one-third of passwords contain personal information, which might account for why so many are stolen or compromised each year.

Use A Password Manager

If you’re not storing your passwords correctly, it won’t matter much if they’re good passwords. Too many people don’t consider that the way they store their passwords is putting their information at risk. The Google Doc or flash drive you store them in isn’t as airtight as you might think.

Instead, try the best password manager app, Keeper. While there are hundreds of other password solutions, this one has everything you need to manage, create, and store your passwords. You’ll also get dark web monitoring to further protect your data.

Conclusion

Taking better care to create strong passwords can benefit everyone, from business owners to freelancers to the average person. Identity theft, password theft, and general cybercrime continue to rise, so all of us need to do our part in securing the internet and making it a safer place. We hope this guide has helped you create stronger passwords, thanks for reading!





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