Creating Strong Passwords

Knowing how to create strong passwords has become very important as these days people are expected to have a password or PIN for just about anything from their credit card to the website they use for their daily news.

Keeping track of all these can be a real hassle, and often leads to people using the same Password or PIN everywhere.

Whilst biometric devices such as fingerprint readers are starting to become more prevalent it will be some years before this is the only authentication method for people to use and thus passwords will be with us for a while yet.

Before we consider possibilities for safe and secure password systems lets look at a few common pitfalls:

  • DO NOT use the same password for every login you have – if someone discovers your password, every system you have access to is compromised.
  • DO NOT use standard words that can be found in the dictionary and definitely don’t use the names of loved ones or pets.

Most Websites that require a login these days mandate that all passwords are a minimum of eight characters, and must contain at least one number amongst those eight, however we are strongly recommending that people go one step further and adopt ‘Passphrases’

Whilst a large section of the population are still struggling to create and remember passwords such as de43frgtdw, the more astute users are changing to Passphrases as a means of creating guess proof access codes.

Next time you have to create a password for a website, PC logon, E-mail Account etc, consider using a Passphrase – With current technology it’s almost impossible to crack a password more than around fifteen characters in length in a reasonable amount of time, so a phrase such as ‘This is my passphrase for my PC’ is easy to remember, but hard to guess or crack – There are a few things to bear in mind first though:

  • Whilst Windows will allow passwords to just over 100 characters in length, as well as spaces and special characters, some other operating systems my impose different limits.
  • Many websites have an upper limit on the amount of characters, and most don’t handle spaces in passphrases very well, even so it should be possible to still create a shorter passphrase that has meaning.
  • Vary your passphrase construction, e.g. if your eBay passphrase is EbayWebsitePassword don’t make your Amazon passphrase AmazonWebsitePassword in the event a passphrase is compromised you won’t risk all your others being guessed too

So our advice is to ditch passwords, use passphrases, and use the button below to send this article to all the people you know – The more people that adopt this methodology, the safer the computing world will be!