Flickr photo: Darwin Bell
Do you often forget your password? You stare in front of the screen and you just can’t remember what it was.
It’s frustrating to say the least, especially if you’re in a hurry. So, you make it easy for yourself. You use your dog’s name and a few numbers to protect yourself from any potential intruders.
This is a big mistake. Your password is your most important safety asset, and you need to learn the practice of creating strong, memorable passwords for yourself.
Don’t wait until it’s too late – take your online safety seriously and change your passwords right now.
How Do I Know If I Have a Weak Password?
A weak password is obvious and easy to guess. Here are a few of the most common warning signs that you have a weak password:
- You use dictionary words, names of famous people, or names of your loved ones in your password
- You have the same password for all your sites (“But it’s so easy to remember!”)
- You base your password on things that are near you, such as “monitor”, “mouse” or “desktop”
- You use one of the most common passwords
Tip: Test the strength of a password.
I came across a password security website the other day, which lets you check the strength of different passwords. The site estimates how long it takes for a PC computer to crack your password.
Passwords such as “Monkey” and “Hello” would be detected instantly, whereas a password with a combination of letters and numbers would take several hours to crack.
How Can I Make My Password More Secure?
Even though you don’t have a weak password per se, you still need to update and maintain a strong password practice. As Eric Griffith of PC Magazine points out: “Passwords are like underwear”. You need to change them often and keep them to yourself.
So, how can you create a more strong and secure password? Here’s a general guideline:
- Use more than 8 characters (the more, the better)
- Use numbers, special characters and symbols (such as @,%, $ etc)
- Make sure you store your password in a safe place
Tip: Use a strong password generator.
Now you’re probably thinking: how on earth am I going to remember such a password? But creating a strong password doesn’t have to be difficult or boring. Indeed, it can even be easy and fun.
How on Earth Can I Remember a Long, Strong and Complicated Password?
It’s easier to remember images and words rather than abstract figures and letters. You can still make a password mean something to you, without it being too obvious.
An easy and fun way to create a strong, secure password is to use it as part of a sentence. Take the following sentence as an example:
I like to eat donuts and blueberry muffins for breakfast, preferably at 8
You can take the first word of each sentence and translate it into a password: Ilted&bmfbp@8.
Which one will be easier to remember – the sentence or just the password?
Obviously, you can twist and tweak your password to include even more special characters and symbols. It’s also a good idea to vary between capital and small letters.
Use Your Common Sense
Common sense is rarely common practice. Make sure to keep all your computer software up to date. This is to ensure that you’re protected by the latest technology.
And please don’t send any sensitive information, such as your bank details, over email. When you do send sensitive information via the Web, double check to see if the web address has https:// in front. This means that the website is HTPP Secure.
Over to You
While you’re at it, update your Flippa password. Click this link and enter your current login information. The page will redirect you to a page where you can change your password.
What are your best practices on creating and maintaining strong and secure passwords? Please let us know in the comments.