We use passwords every day and on lots of different systems, so its not surprising that it’s a bit confusing trying to choose unique, strong passwords that can be easily remembered. In this post we’ll first deal with the criteria of a fairly good password then we’ll look at a few tips to help you choose good passwords that you can easily remember....
Don’t use a password that’s easily guessable - In other words don’t use the names of your family, friends, pets, hobbies, interests etc. It’s possible that words and names associated with you can be combined into a dictionary so that a password cracking program can use them. In fact don’t use any single word on its own that is in a dictionary.
Use a password that is complex and long enough - I’d suggest that your passwords are at least 8 characters long and contain upper case letters, lower case letters and numbers. You can also use special characters such as “£%&@ but a lot of websites will not allow this for their passwords. There’s technical reasons why all this is all important which I won’t go into just now. When it comes to passwords, the longer the better.
Use different passwords for different systems and websites - Don’t use the same password for all of your accounts. Your Facebook login username is generally your email address, so if I obtain the username and password for your Facebook then I could access your email if you’re using the same passwords for both. Also try not to use incrementing passwords where you just put a number or a month after the password.
How to remember your password or passphrase:-
Use a passphrase- A passphrase is like a password but is generally longer and stronger than just one word. It could be a combination of words that are not related such as the words ‘satsuma’ and ‘telephone’. An example of applying the rules above for choosing a strong password with these two words could be - SatSuma4telePhone
Use a rhyme, sentence or song - A good way to generate a strong password is to take the first letter of every word in a random sentence, song or rhyme and then add a number. i.e. ‘Mary had a little lamb, whose fleece was white as snow’ could become a passphrase of – Mhall4wfwwas
Use online tools to generate strong random passwords or check the strength of your passwords- There are a number of online tools available to do this such as - http://www.pctools.com/guides/password/ and https://www.microsoft.com/protect/fraud/passwords/checker.aspx
Save your passwords in a password safe so you don’t forget them-There is quite a lot of free software available, called password safes, that allow you to store all your passwords in one place so that you can recall them if you forget any. I quite like http://passwordsafe.sourceforge.net/