Updated: Apr 15, 2020
For many of us, creating strong passwords seem like an overwhelming task, especially when you suppose to have a unique password for each site you visit. Who of us can remember random passwords like Kbt5fNC-A86kl? That’s why unfortunately, many of us tend to use the same password for multiple sites and easily expose ourselves to getting compromised. Even if we use several passwords, but they are all short simple words or include numbers that relate to your life, they are still too easy to crack. Or even worse, if we created hard to remember passwords then most likely we have a list of these passwords somewhere close by - even though we know this also compromises our safety if others can find the list easily.
So what makes a Password strong?
The main characteristics of a strong password are
Length: the longer the better
The mix of letters: include upper and lower case
Numbers and symbols: mix numbers with symbols like &, $ or )
Make sure that the password has no connection to your personal information (no name or birthdays), and do not use words which can be found in a dictionary.
Sounds hard? It doesn’t have to be if you know a few simple tricks how to generate your password. And creating them can actually be fun.
Tips for creating a strong and unique Password
There are several methods how to create a strong password and even software which helps you to generate them. My favorite method (because it’s so simple) is the so called "Bruce Schneier Method." The idea is to make up a random sentence and transform it into a password using some rules. For example, taking the first letter of every word and use numbers for the word “to” or “for” in “I travelled to Barcelona and London in 84 and loved it!” would come up with: It2BaLi84ali! Having upper- and lower-case letters as well as numbers and symbols in a random order makes it a strong password. For anybody else than you, this would make no sense at all, but for you it’s easy to remember.
How to Keep a Strong Password safe
So, you've found a password that has the perfect length, is incomprehensible, and mixes letters, numbers, and cases. You're certainly on the right track, but your password is not totally secure yet. We often are using the same password for multiple sites (email, social sites, shopping, etc.) which means if one of the sites has been breached, all your other sites where you are using the same password is exposed.
Therefore, I add another step to my password on each individual site. To make it completely secure but still easy for me to remember, I add some letters from the website I am accessing (like the first and the last letter of the website) and incorporate it into my password. For example, if I would use the password above to login to my Hotmail account, I would add the first letter of Hotmail before my password and the last letter at the end, now I have my password for my Hotmail account as HIt2BaLi84ali!l, try to crack this one! Where and which letter from the website you are using is up to you. You might just add the two first letter of Hotmail at the beginning, or even at the end. You just have to remember which combination you have chosen and what is your favorite sentence and you have created a secure password for every different site and you don’t even have to write them down anymore.
Enjoy finding your favorite sentence and creating a strong and memorable Password! Let me know if you would like any other tips.