Creating, storing and remembering passwords can sometimes be a pain, but the truth is that passwords are your first line of defense against cybercriminals and data breaches.
How Do I Create Strong Passwords?
No matter what accounts they protect, all passwords should be created with these three guiding principles in mind:
- Long - Every one of your passwords should be at least 12 characters long.
- Unique - Each account needs to be protected with its own unique password. Never reuse passwords. This way, if one of your accounts is compromised, your other accounts remain secured. We're talking unique, not just changing one character or adding a "2" at the end - to really trip up hackers, none of your passwords should look alike
- Complex - Each unique password should be a combination of upper-case letters, lowercase letters, numbers, and special characters (like >,!?).
While passwords that meet these requirements are secure, they can be difficult to remember and track. A good alternative is passphrases. What is a passphrase? A passphrase is a sentence-like string of words used for authentication that is longer than a traditional password, easy to remember and difficult to crack. An example is "upstate-bleak-trapezoid-rewrap".
How Do I Create Strong Passphrases?
No matter what accounts they protect, all passphrases should be created with these three guiding principles in mind:
- Long - Every one of your passphrases should have four or more random words, like "update-bleak-trapezoid-rewrap".
- Unique - Just lie passwords, each account needs to be protected with its own unique passphrase. Never reuse passwords or passphrases. This way, if one of your accounts is compromised, your other accounts remain secure. We're talking really unique, not just changing on character or adding a "2" at the end - to really trip up hackers, none of your passphrases should look alike.
- Complex - Unfortunately, while the world is moving towards passphrases, there are some sites that haven't gotten with the times. Not everyone uses passphrases, and some sites have their tools set to validate strong passwords - which are not nearly as strong as strong passphrases. Because of that, you may need to add a number, a special character, or a capital letter to your passphrase. However, the focus should still be on the length of your passphrase, as that is its strongest feature..