Your Guide when It Comes to Choosing a Strong Password

In Security by Jesse Rink

choosing a strong password

What’s the first thing you do when you open your laptop? If you’re someone that cares about protecting their personal data, then your answer would be “I enter my password”.

Nowadays, we use passwords for basically every account that we have online and sometimes even for our phone. Choosing a strong password is vital if you don’t want to deal with cyber threats, especially when it comes to your school or business. Still, many people don’t know much about how to choose a secure password. If you’re one of those people, then you’re in the right place.

Things to avoid

First, I’ll start with the don’ts and then I’ll move to the do’s.

  • Don’t use words that you can find in the dictionary. Do you know how WordPress will generate complicated passwords with a lot of random letters, numbers, and punctuations? That is because that’s how a strong password should be. Password-cracking tools that are widely available online usually try different combinations from dictionary lists. Replacing “O” with “0” is not a smart idea. If you want to dictionary words nonetheless, make sure that you at least use punctuation at the beginning and the end of the word(s).
  • Avoid keyboard combinations. You may think that keyboard combinations like “qwerty” or “asdfgh” look like random letters, but to password-cracking software, they’re not. These type of passwords can be easily cracked, so it’s best not to even think about using them.
  • Don’t use the same password for other websites. You’re probably going through the same struggle as well: You’ve been thinking hard about choosing a strong password, and now you have to think about at least a dozen more. If you’re afraid that you won’t remember all of them, don’t worry about it because you don’t even have to. Here’s a tip: How about using a password managing tool like Zoho Vault? It will make sure your data and personal information are safe.

How to make sure you’re choosing a strong password

  • Your password has more than 12 letters. The more letters a password has, the harder it will be to crack it. Also, it’ll take more time for a software to manage that. For example, you can use a password strength estimator to check different variations for a possible password and how long it will take for it to be cracked. You will notice that the more complex it is, the longer it will take.
  • Use a sentence as a password. Let’s take this phrase as an example: “Every morning, at 7am, I eat cereal for breakfast!”. That is something personal for me, something that a database or a machine could never guess. Think of a phrase that is unique and abbreviate every word from it to create a password. I did not use too many numbers, but I would recommend doing it. The best thing about using phrases and abbreviating them is that they’re virtually hacker-proof, compared to popular quotes.
  • Include symbols. And I’m not talking about the fact that you can replace “s” with “$” because that’s too obvious. Try to choose symbols that are not so common, like <>.,/?!#[]{}()+=&*^%.

How secure is your password?

I’m hoping that my tips will help you make the best decision when it comes to choosing your passwords. As businesses grow, there will be more and more challenges and threats to be avoided.

On our blog, we’re continually providing different resources and advice for schools, nonprofits and small to medium businesses. If you want to find out how we can help you, feel free to contact us to receive a free consultation.

 

About the Author
Jesse Rink

Jesse Rink

Jesse is the owner of Source One Technology and has been providing IT services to schools, nonprofits and SMBs in Waukesha, Milwaukee and SE Wisconsin for over 18 years.