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How to Create Strong Passwords and Remember Them All

Passwords. We all have a love/hate relationship with them. We like that passwords allow us to keep personal data and accounts private, but we hate frantically trying to remember the complicated codes when trying to access our favourite sites, apps and platforms.

Written by Adam Bovan

May 2018

Forgotten your password?

You want to avoid being hacked, but at the same time, you’re not a superhuman who can recall lengthy combinations on demand. We’ve got a few tips on how you can effortlessly create strong passwords and never worry about forgetting them again.

How to create robust passwords

You can verify the heftiness of your passwords with Microsoft’s online checker, or – if you’re a Mac user – Apple’s built-in Password Assistant. Here’s how to get started:

Don’t stick to just one.

The temptation is to create one universal phrase that you use across all of your different accounts. Brilliant – you can’t possibly forget the password that you use for everything, right?

But, consider this:

A hacker gets hold of the password for one of your accounts. If you have the same access code for your email, social media profiles and online banking, the criminal really has hit a gold mine.

Use a unique password for each account you use; this way it won’t be a total disaster if one is breached.

Size matters.

Most websites that you sign up to have a minimum of 8 or 10 characters. The more letters, numbers and words you use, the more effective your password.

We recommend hitting a sweet spot of 12-15.

Add some variety.

Again, the majority of sites require you to use more than letters and encourage the use of digits and symbols.

We say, the more the merrier.

Run out of ideas?

If you’re truly stuck, use a password generator, such as Random.org, Dashlane or – if you have little ones – DinoPass.

How to remember all of your passwords

On average, many people will have over 90 accounts that require passwords, and this number is only set to grow. So how on Earth is a humble human supposed to remember them all, without inserting a computer chip into the back of their necks?

We’ve got you covered.

Create a passphrase.

When you were at school, you may have remembered “important” stuff by reciting memorable acronyms.

We don’t know much about Richard of York, but we do know that he died for us to identify the colours of the rainbow!

Anyway, creating a passphrase can be a super handy way of remembering long, convoluted passwords.

For example, “Singularitee is awesome and the best Managed IT Services Provider in the world!” could be “S1A&tbMISPitW!”

Avoid using numbers instead of letters, such as S1NGULARIT33 or PA55W0RD123. Whilst these used to be perfectly reasonable, we just can’t get away with them anymore.

Write it down.

This may seem like we’re going against everything we believe in by telling you to use good ol’ fashioned pen and paper. But, as long as you keep the notepad hidden and secure, you can significantly reduce your chance of being hacked.

Most data threats come from outside of your building, so unless someone breaks into your office, specifically to look through your notepad, the passwords you write down should be safe.

Password managers.

You can also use a digital password manager, such as LastPass, Dashlane and 1Password to store your passwords in one place. Of course, you’ll need to craft and remember a master code to access the manager, but it’s a secure way of having all of your codes at your fingertips.

It is worth noting that these aren’t 100% foolproof; LastPass experienced a security breach in 2011, but those users who had good master passwords remained unaffected.

How to stay extra secure

When it comes to security, the more layers you have, the less likely it is that things are going to slip through the net.

Here are some additional things you can implement to reinforce those strong passwords.

Ensure your devices are protected.

Antivirus software and firewalls shield your computer from hackers that harvest passwords for malicious and criminal use. By investing in quality programmes, you can defend yourself against these users.

We’ve written a number of articles on how to avoid phishing scams, how to stay safe whilst using public Wi-Fi, and what antivirus software is best for businesses.

Don’t forget about mobiles.

For some reason, we often forget about mobile phones and don’t apply the same caution to passwords and access as we do when using a desktop computer.

Use a strong code for logging into your phone or, even better, take advantage of the fingerprint recognition feature.

Two-step verification.

Another popular way to avoid being hacked is to make use of Two-Factor Authentication. Once set up, whoever logs into your account will also need a specific code that is sent to your mobile phone via text or to a linked email account.

Popular sites like Twitter have this verification method in place. It means that even if someone does steal your password, they won’t be able to access your account unless they also have access to your phone or inbox.

Want to know more about staying secure? Get in touch with us today.

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