How to use choose strong passwords

Most people understand that using a strong password is important but what does that really mean? And how do you make sure you’re using strong passwords?

What is a strong password?

Passwords become harder to crack the longer they are and the more different types of characters they include. You should aim to use at least 12 characters and include lowercase and uppercase letters along with numbers and symbols.

Use a system

You can make your passwords more secure by using a system of some kind to help you remember them. You’ll want to make up your own system, but you could do something like the following:

  1. Take a word that you’ll find easy to remember: reindeer
  2. Make some letters uppercase: ReindeeR
  3. Swap some of the letters for numbers: R3inde3R
  4. Through a symbol in there: R3!nde3R
  5. Add the first four letters from the website. So for Amazon you’d get: AmazR3!nde3R and for Google you’d get: GoogR3!nde3R

Although this is not as secure as using a truly random password for every website it’s better than using the same simple dictionary word everywhere.

Use a password manager

Systems like the one above are okay but one of the easiest ways to make sure you are using secure passwords everywhere is to use a password manager programme. This is a little application which ties in with your web browser and can generate completely random strings to use as passwords. It will then retrieve them for you when required meaning you don’t have to struggle to remember anything. I personally use 1Password which is available for Windows, Mac, iOS and Android. Also available is LastPass.

Whichever method you choose you’re now significantly more secure than the average person. Congratulations!

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