Creating a Strong Password

Making a strong password that you can remember easily, but that will be very hard for someone else to guess or work out, is very important for your online security. As you develop, you will become more and more reliant on on-line accounts for things like banking, online shopping, managing household bills and so on, so learning skills around personal on-line security is crucial to your continued safety. here are a few tips to help:

Basic password rules:

  • Make sure passwords contain combinations of upper case letters (ABCDERFG…), lower case letters (abcdefg….), numbers (123456…..) and other characters (!£<)%$?….).
  • Make sure your password is AT LEAST 8 characters long. 12 characters would be better.
  • Avoid whole words as these can be surprisingly easy to work out
  • NEVER use references from things that many people are likely to know about you: your favourite football team, your name, your date of birth, etc.
  • NEVER use easy to guess things like Password or 12345678 as your password. This isn’t clever and has been thought of literally millions of times before, which is why it’s so easy for someone else to guess.
  • Change your important passwords regularly – at least once a year.
  • NEVER share your password with ANYONE.

Passwords are no good if you can’t remember them:

  • Its no good having a super secure password if you can’t remember it! Try to make sure that the password means something to you, but contains references that most people wouldn’t know about you. For example:  A combination of letters from a parent’s middle name, the location of your first holiday, your aunt’s dog’s name and your mom’s phone number, would be quite difficult for someone to guess. So you might have a password like GeoLanPat079 – Geo from George (dad’s middle name), Lan from Lanzarote (first holiday location) Pat from Patch (aunt’s dog’s name) and 079 from the start of your mom’s mobile number. This has a clear pattern (three letters from 4 sources that you will remember) and is pretty much random to anyone else. It hasn’t got a special character, so why not put an exclamation mark at the start for good measure: !GeoLanPat079.
  • Keep a prompt for your password somewhere safe rather than writing it down. For the above password you could use something like: D2,1stH,AD,MPN (D2 – dad’s 2nd name, 1stH – first holiday, AD – aunt’s dog, MPN – mom’s phone number). Again pretty much nonsense to anyone else, but if you have a well thought out system for constructing your passwords, it will mean a great deal to you

Why not test your password: you may be surprised at how quickly it could be broken with the right tools. The password shown above would take in the order of 3,000,000 years to break according to this tool!

Use a password storage tool:

  • Your phone is almost certainly connected to an online (cloud) service that can store literally thousands of passwords encrypted in the cloud. Apple’s Key Chain is a good example of this. With Apple Key Chain you can store all your passwords and then access them from any device in the world using either a master password, finger print or facial recognition. Completely random passwords can then be generated by your web browser and stored in your Key Chain. In reality you could  have hundreds of very complex passwords, but not need to learn any of them. All you need to learn is your master password.