How to Choose a Secure Password.
How secure is my password? And, how do I choose a secure, safe and strong password?
Passwords are one of the most important aspects of our digital lives and are required by a huge number of services, ranging from email and social networking accounts, through to online banking and retail sites. However, it is absolutely essential that you choose a secure password, which cannot be easily guessed or cracked.
Although it is important to keep all of your online accounts secure, this is especially vital with your email account, because it potentially contains so much personal information. Below, we take a look at some of the do’s and don’ts.
How to Choose a Secure Password:
- Choose a password that is at least eight characters long. The longer a password is, the harder it is for somebody to guess, or for a hacker to crack using specialist software.
- Make use of a combination of upper case and lower case letters, as well as numbers and symbols (if they are permitted). This will help to make your secure password more unique.
- Use more than one word, as password cracking software will find it easier to crack single-word passwords. You do not necessarily need to use spaces and it may be best to avoid using them between each word.
- Change your password regularly. In recent years, various high-profile email providers have experienced security issues, resulting in users’ passwords being compromised. Changing your password regularly will mean that even if somebody gains access to a leaked password list, the password contained within it will be out of date.
- Log out of your email account when you have finished using it. This will protect your account in the event that somebody gains access to your device and will also help to protect you from other data interceptions.
- Make use of two-factor authentication on any email service that offers it, as it will add an extra layer of security beyond your basic email password. This will often consist of sending an authentication code to your mobile number, which you can then enter to confirm that it is you attempting to log in.
- Use an email password that is identical to your password on another service. Re-using passwords puts you at greater risk, because a hacker who gains access to one online account could access others too.
- Write your password down, store it in any documents on your device, or share it with anybody else.
- Select any password that will be easy to guess by those who know you. For example, do not use a family member’s name, your date of birth, your favourite sports team, your phone number or your address. You should also avoid extremely common passwords, such as ‘password’, ‘pass1’ or ‘user’.
- Use the option for your web browser to ‘remember’ your password. The majority of browsers will store this information in plain text format. This means that, theoretically, anyone who gains access to your device and web browser will be able to read the password for your email account.
- Choose a password that you will find difficult to remember. While it can be tempting to use the longest and most complicated password you can, you want to avoid using a password that you need to write down somewhere, or which will be so secure that even you are unable to gain access to your account.
- Use a password that utilises an obvious sequence of numbers or letters. Examples of this include ‘12345678’, ‘abcdefgh’, ‘qwertyuiop’ and ‘a1b2c3d4’, but there are many more.
How Secure is My Password?
To find out how long it will take a computer to crack your password, visit www.howsecureismypassword.net. Enter your password and press enter, and the website will estimate how secure your chosen password is.
You can also check your password safety at www.roboform.com/how-strong-is-your-password and at https://password.kaspersky.com.