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10 Steps to Creating Secure Passwords

10 Steps to Creating Secure Passwords

Gwendolen Fairfax | DivineCaroline

March 10, 2011

If you’re one of the millions of people whose password to their online accounts is “password,” don’t feel bad—you’re not alone. Remembering a single PIN, password, or secret phrase can sometimes be bothersome—let alone passwords for the dozens of accounts and devices many people have nowadays.

Online-security experts recommend long, strong passwords for a reason—identity and information theft are rampant, and hackers have many tools at their disposal that allow them to crack simple passwords like “123456” and “abcdefg.” In order to protect your identity and online information, a tougher password is a must. But there’s no need to memorize hexadecimal strings of random characters; there are several easy ways to create—and remember—strong, safe passwords.

Go for length.
The best passwords are at least seven characters long, and hopefully as long as fourteen characters. The shorter a password is, the easier it is to crack.

Find something random.
Instead of using a word as your password, use a favorite quote, lyric, or phrase (containing at least ten words), and use the first letter of each word as your password. If you’re going to San Francisco, be sure to wear some flowers in your hair becomes “iygtsfbstwsfiyh.” Although the sequence is memorable and makes sense to you, it seems random to anyone else.

Another way to find a random password is to use an online password-generator service, such as StrongPasswordGenerator.com, and then create a mnemonic device to help you remember it. When the service supplies a random sequence like “Jni8e8r,” remember it by teaching yourself the phrase “Jeffrey normally inspired eighty-eight rainbows.”

Misspel deliberately.
This doesn’t mean using common misspellings of regular words; rather, devise a creative misspelling of a word you can remember and that can make your password safer. For example, “Paris” can become “Pearisse.”

Add some complexity.
Good passwords contain symbols, punctuations, deliberate misspellings, and a blend of lowercase and capital letters. Turn a simple password like “catlover” into a more secure version like “c@LUVr!”

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