A good password is one that is easy to remember but hard to steal. Hackers are finding new ways every day to crack weak passwords and steal information that is important to you. Protect yourself by using strong passwords across all of your accounts.
How can I avoid a weak password?
Stay away from the obvious
The first step to avoiding a weak password is to use common sense: don’t use an obvious password that can be easily guessed.
Avoid words you would find in a dictionary
Words like “password” show up on lists for weak passwords every year. Most hackers attempt to use words like this first, before resorting to cracking software. Password-cracking software can easily search every word in the dictionary and guess simple passwords like this in about one second.
Avoid predictable strings of numbers (1234)
Similarly, strings of numbers like “1234” are easy for hackers and password software to crack.
Avoid memorable keyword paths (qwerty, asdf, etc.)
Maybe you’ve avoided obvious words and number strings, but perhaps you’ve done so by using a keyboard path such as “qwerty” (the top left row of keys on your keyboard). Passwords like this are also very easily cracked by hackers and software alike.
Tips for creating a strong password
Here are some tricks you can use to make your passwords stronger. Pick the one that is easiest for you to work with or combine a couple of the tips.
Use the first one or two letters of each word in a phrase, song, or poem you can easily remember. Add a punctuation mark and a number.
For example: “Somewhere over the rainbow” can make a password like SoOvThRa36!
Spell it wrong on purpose
Use intentionally misspelled words with a number or punctuation mark in the middle.
For example: Sunny Outside could make a password like Sunnee#Outcide
Make up a nonsense word
Alternate between one consonant and one or two vowels, and include a number and a punctuation mark. This provides a pronounceable nonsense word that you can remember.
Mix letters and numbers
Interlace two words or a word and a number (like a year) by alternating characters.
For example: The word Stair and the year 2021 become S2t0a1i2r
Choose two short words that aren’t necessarily related, and link them together with a punctuation mark or number.
For example: Better7Burger
Better yet, capitalize a different letter: betTer7burGer
Where possible, use long passwords. The longer and more complex a password is, the harder it is for attackers to steal. In the example above, you could use four random unrelated words for increased security, for example: purple guitar horse garage. You stand a good chance of remembering this and it is extremely hard to guess.
You should change your passwords periodically for your own security, and make sure you use different passwords on different sites. To help keep track of all those passwords consider using a password manager at home like Dashlane or Lastpass, which are free and provide secure password storage. They can also generate secure passwords and fill in your username and password automatically so you don’t have to type them in.
Keeping your information secure is of the utmost importance, so make sure your passwords are strong!