Posted on: June 28, 2011
Best Practices for Stronger Passwords
Posted by: Brett Bisbe
Read time (bolded): 2 minutes
Read time (comprehensive): 5 minutes
Password security, as all Internet users should be aware, is the first line of defense against any breach of your personal information. Creating strong passwords can keep your accounts safe. Changing them regularly will keep your accounts even safer!
There are a variety of tricks and tips to creating strong passwords. Of course, one good practice is length. More characters mean more potential permutations of letters, numbers, and symbols. Generally speaking, a 5-character password is easier to crack than a 10-character password. That being said, using a variety of character types will also help strengthen your passwords. Combinations of letter, numbers, and symbols will always be stronger than a password with a single character type.
Now, when creating a password, length is important, but not always the most important. Even if a password is particularly long, its strength can be compromised by the use of common phrases or letter combinations. For example – the password “RingAroundTheRosie” would be less secure than “RosesAndRings.” Though the first password is longer, it is also a more common phrase, and therefore more predictable.
To avoid this type of predictability, use random password generators or Arnold Reinhold’s Diceware method. You can also use your own memorable information, like pet’s names or the town you were born in, just arrange it in an encrypted way. Instead of using “rover,” create a password like “MyD0GRov3r.” Using numbers to represent letters adds some variety, and many sites even allow spaces in passwords – another strength enhancer. Predictability is still an issue when taking this approach, but a little creativity will help you create passwords that are both secure and easy to remember!
The next step beyond creating strong passwords is to change them regularly, and to keep them strong. This means varying your password more than a single letter or symbol. When the time comes to change a password, change it completely to maintain the highest level of security.
By maintaining strong, constantly changing passwords, you are maintaining a solid defense against any attempted infiltration of your accounts, and who wouldn’t want their information to be as safe as possible?