If you’ve spent any amount of time online, you probably know how frustrating it is to create a secure password. It can feel like nothing you enter will ever be good enough, except for a random string of letters and numbers that no one can possibly remember. And yet, strong passwords are a must if you do any business online. Creating a strong password is harder than people think, but it’s something you need to do if you want to protect your private information. Here are some tips that might help.
The Proper Password Length
Experts are unsure as to how long a secure password should be. Longer passwords are obviously more secure, but they’re also harder to remember. Most experts believe that a strong password that is still easy to remember should be between 12 and 14 characters long. It’s tough for someone else to correctly guess a password that long, but it’s also not so long that you’ll forget it. Then again, if you can come up with a 40-character password that you can remember, go for it. It will be much more secure than your standard 12-character password.
A Combination of Characters
As a rule, any password you have should have a combination of uppercase letters, lowercase letters, numbers, and special characters. The more special characters and numbers you have, the more secure your password will be. When you create your password, try to avoid common substitutions as they are much easier to guess. For example, you don’t want to replace “house” with “h0use”—that is too easy for someone to guess. You also want to avoid substituting “4” for “A,” the number “1” for a lowercase “l,” or anything else that people immediately consider when they’re prompted to create a password.
Making Things Too Personal
A lot of people like to use information that is important to them when they create a password. They enter their mothers’ maiden names, the names of their children, their wedding anniversary, or anything else that they won’t forget. That’s fine if nobody else knows this information, but anyone who knows you well enough should be able to crack these passwords without much trouble. If you’re going to use an important name or date, make sure it’s something that is so personal to you that nobody else could know about it.
Creating a secure password is often harder than it looks. Short of smashing your hands on your keyboard to create a completely random string of characters, you’ll probably never come up with something that is impossible to crack. These tips should help you come up with something that won’t be too obvious or hard to remember, but don’t forget to change your passwords frequently, even if you don’t think anyone could guess what they are.