With internet security at the top of most peoples concerns, picking a good password is not only a necessity, it could prevent you from being the victim of identity fraud. But how do you go about picking a perfect password? Most people choose something that is familiar to them, such as a family pet, a favourite football team, a family member or a popular group.
So as an experiment, I asked my partner to guess my password and in two attempts he had correctly chosen my most used password. Which came as a bit of a shock, as I thought I’d been a little bit clever, but thinking about it, if anyone had taken the time to peruse my Facebook page, they could have easily arrived at the same conclusion.
One thing we have to consider is that there is no such thing as the perfect password, all you can do is make yours as difficult as possible for a potential hacker to crack. Much like a burglar trying to break into your house, if you leave a window unlocked they will keep trying to get in, but if your security is strong, they will become discouraged and give up.
So what constitutes a good password? Well, never chose anything personal to you, so all pet names, family members etc are out. But you do need something that you will remember, but not have to write down. So start off with a phrase, a quotation, or a saying that is memorable to you, and then take the first letter from each word.
Here are some examples:
- Flattery will get you nowhere: fwgyn
- Never judge a book by its cover: njabbic
- Jack and Jill went up the hill: jajwuth
- A watched pot never boils: awpnb
- A friend in need is a friend indeed: afiniafi
- Children should be seen and not heard: csbsanh
Now you need to lengthen the password, as passwords become stronger at 6 characters or more. So add something that is always on your desk and within your sight, such as a pen, mug, book, mouse, mat, an everyday object that is second nature to you. So now for instance, your password could be:
Always capitalise the everyday object, as it adds another dimension to the password. And if you pop in a number or non alphabetic character, all the better, so you could us the @ symbol for b@@k for example, or the number 3 for p3n.
Here are some more examples:
And if your password exceeds 15 characters or more, this is classed as extremely strong, as Microsoft Windows do not store scrambled passwords in hidden files once they are 15 characters or longer.
You should get used to using different passwords for different websites, and swapping portions of your password every few weeks or so. If you rotate a section of your password, this helps to stop the hackers from breaking your password, rather than if you change the complete password.
And finally, try and memorise more than three passwords at a time, as this will set you in good stead to resist even the most persistent of hackers.