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May 2, 2016

Create secure passwords

I have often been asked how to choose a password, and how to make it secure. So I have put together a couple thoughts to help you create a good password that is secure and less likely to be guessed.

Key elements:

First you should make you password a minimum of 8 characters long.
You want it to contain certain things that help you remember it, something that makes sense to you but not others.
You should always use symbols if allowed, such as !, @, #, $, etc.
A good idea is to have a different password for every site, but many people will often forget them once they start making so many. In which case I would suggest having a password manager that I will link below. If of course you don’t want a different password for each site, and don’t want to use a password manager then I suggest at the very least making up a few different ones to use for certain password sets/groups.

A password for your social media accounts (facebook, twitter, etc.)
A password for bank/credit card accounts (THIS SHOULD ALWAYS BE DIFFERENT FROM ANYTHING)
A password group for email accounts

This will allow things to still be easy to remember for you by cutting down having to remember for every site you visit, but they also differ from different groups so if someone were to discover your facebook password they most likely won’t know the rest.

Creating a password:

Sounds simple enough, but I know some people have a hard time thinking of something they can remember but isn’t easily guessed by someone they know. For example “GoBucks1” would most likely be guessed if someone knew you were a Buckeyes fan.

Easy to remember password creating tips:
Use a childhood street name
Use a childhood phone number or address number
Change some letters to numbers. example: o->0, E->3, S->5, a->@
Use upper and lowercase
Childhood nickname/pet name (preferably no longer used/living)
Mix letters/number around such as backwards (password -> drowssap, 123 ->321)
Don’t forget to use symbols if the site/application allows (not all do)

So with those above tips lets just say for example I was born on 123 Sesame St. and the phone number to my grandma that passed away 20 years ago was 614-555-9999. Now this may differ for many people but as for me I don’t talk to anyone that lived on my street where I was born and also the fact I moved from there when I was 3. Also I don’t know of anyone who called my grandma or could remember her number from 20 years ago.

or an easier to remember one might be
For the last one I split Sesame st up, and mixed the last 4 and first 3 of my number then added the last part of my street name, followed by a symbol and my area code of my number finishing with @321 my old address backwards. Of course this may seem as a complicated example. Just remember to use some of my key elements, as well as add some of your own ideas I didn’t mention. You don’t have to follow my exact formula that I used in my example, just random things most don’t know about you.

You get the idea, just as long as its hard to guess and makes sense to you but not others. The password manager I will be linking can create a random secure password for you as well, which may be hard to remember but can be saved in the password manager in case you forget. Both programs are great and are also free.

Kaspersky Password Manager
KeePass Password Safe