Creating A Password Worthy of Fort Knox

June 3, 2014 | Armen Akopyanpassword

What online site doesn’t require a password these days?  Passwords are your one key line for security, but it can feel very redundant when you have so many different accounts.  However, password security is no joke.  Passwords are the only line of defense when it comes to protecting our information.  One small mistake can lead to a lot of misery.

What needs to be done?  Creating a password which will take time to decrypt will help.  Here are some tips on what to do and what not to do.

What not to do: Don’t get Careless!

Just because you have too many accounts and don’t want to spend time remembering or write down and store (in a safe place!) all your passwords can easily be your downfall.  Many people choose to have a similar password for their emails to their Facebook to their bank accounts.  Knowing one password can lead to a lot of stolen information.  Mixing up your passwords for each account can prevent a stolen password.

Using personal information as part of your password isn’t going to help either.  Don’t leave your name, address, birthday, dog’s name, or something that would relate to you in some way as a password.  And…for the sake of common sense don’t leave your password at “1234…”, “qwerty”, or worst of all…“password”.  You need to be banned from the internet forever using passwords like these.

What to do: How to Strengthen your Password!

Mix it up!  Don’t just string typical words together.  Throw some numbers and special characters in between.  Simple hacking tools look for words found in a dictionary.  Type the words backwards or replace a letter with a number or symbol.  Spending a little more time on a password can prevent more chances of hackers cracking your password open.  Don’t make it easy for them.

To prevent further ways of getting your password stolen really depends on how much time and effort you build your password.  Thinking of a main password word “root” can help and just adding extension to it for other accounts can make it easier to remember.

For example, say I wanted to create a new password for all my new accounts.  I’m going to use St. Louis as a start of my password idea.  Now I’m going to type it backwards and take out the space and period, siouLtS.  I’m going to throw a number into the mix, si0uLtS.  Maybe, I will throw in a symbol just to make the hackers work harder, $i0uLt$.  But…‘$’ looks too much like ‘S’ and ‘0’ looks too much like ‘o’.  So, I’ll replace the ‘$’ with ‘6’, because it looks like an ‘s’ to me and replace ‘0’ with ‘&’ because it looks like it has two mini ‘o’s’.  I should capitalize all the letters to make it even oh so harder for the virus to crack my password, 6I&ULT6.  My final step is to add an extension to help me remember my passwords for different accounts, like 8OL or 4Y7EE.

To measure how strong my password is, I’ll be using this tool.  According to the website, the “root” password will take only 3 minutes to crack…  BUT, with the extension 8OL, it goes up to 344 days.  4Y7EE added to the root, it will take up to 2000 years!

Another way of creating a strong password is to come up with a naughty phrase.  I know it sounds funny (or dirty), but in reality it actually works!  I would say keep it as civilized as possible, but normally dirty phrases aren’t used (thanks to society taboos?) and many have never considered using a naughty phrase as a password.  I won’t put up any examples.  I’ll just leave that up to you…

Passwords aren’t difficult to create, but laziness will only get you into further trouble.  Spending an extra minute or two for a new password isn’t going to hurt.  Especially if someone who wants to steals your information, the time for you fixing up the mess will definitely take longer than a minute or two.