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9 Easy Ways to Choose a Safe and Secure Password

password-security

We are quickly becoming accustomed to hackers gaining access to passwords.

After the most recent incident, where hackers gained access to 2 million Facebook, Twitter and Gmail passwords, and in late October when it was revealed that over 38 million user accounts and passwords to Adobe accounts were leaked, I think it may be a great time to talk about how to choose a safe password. Even though choosing a strong password won’t necessarily safeguard you from password breaches, it will keep you safe in every day internet life.

1. For starters, don’t be lazy. Analysts found that of that list of 38 million passwords, these 20 were the most common. Is your password one of these? Change it now.

  1.  123456
  2. 123456789
  3. password
  4. admin
  5. 12345678
  6. qwerty
  7. 1234567
  8. 111111
  9. photoshop
  10. 123123
  11. 1234567890
  12. 000000
  13. abc123
  14. 1234
  15. adobe1
  16. macromedia
  17. azerty
  18. iloveyou
  19. aaaaaa
  20. 654321

2.Choose a password with mixed-case letters, numbers and symbols (example: !, $, #, %).
3. Choose a password that is NOT related to anything that has special meaning to you, ie: your pets name, birthday, address, family members names, etc.
4. Use a different password for every account that you have. I know, I know, this one SUCKS, but it will definitely come in handy if one of your accounts get compromised. Multiple passwords will ensure that your other accounts remain safe.
5. Don’t use a word that is found in the dictionary. You can switch up the word by replacing the I’s with 1′s, or the O’s with 0.
6. Choose a password that is 8 characters or longer.
7. Use a virtual keyboard when entering passwords. A virtual keyboard won’t let a keylogger program capture your keystrokes.
8. Use a string of random words, as suggest by xkcd. A string of random words may seem hard to remember, but this cartoon illustrates how it is actually way easy.
9. Use a password keeper like KeepassLastpass, or 1Password. These password management programs will help you manage your passwords securely. With most, your passwords are stored behind a master password. You only need to remember that one password to access the rest. These programs will even generate safe passwords for you to use.

What tricks to do you use when choosing and creating passwords? Was one of your passwords on the most common list? Be sure to share this post with friends and family to keep their online data safe too.

5 Comments.
  1. You could also use a generator like https://getvau.lt/ or as a browser’s extension https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/easy-password-handling/fobokeococnhobjlfpkoibpjnajichnj .
    The advantage over other password management tools is, you never have to store a password anywhere else as in the service provider’s database you registered to.

  2. Matt

    Thanks for the article. I recently switched to using a password management program after giving my password to IT for some maintenance. Since my password was the same for many things, it was time to change to unique passwords, at least for anything important. Even with that, I had not changed a fairly simple password for Twitter and got hacked. It is embarrassing when your friends start getting spammed by your account.

  3. Thanks for the article.
    Where do we get a virtual keyboard?

  4. Chris

    @mike
    Why not use Google???
    For Windows Vista and 7 :
    http://windows.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/type-without-keyboard#type-without-keyboard=windows-vista
    For Windows 8:
    http://windows.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/type-without-keyboard#type-without-keyboard=windows-7
    Most Linux distribution are shipped with a virtual keyboard too.

  5. I’ve tried several password managers (eWallet, SplashID) but none worked very well. Then I read David Pogue’s review of Dashlane. It is fantastic. Saves me so much time and headache managing over 200 sets of credentials.

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