How To Make Strong Passwords You Can Remember

Every day, identity thieves and hackers get better at accessing your personal, online information. Here's a quick, simple guide to keeping your accounts safe.

With every passing day, identity thieves and hackers grow more clever at accessing your personal, online information.

Or maybe a mischievous sibling or spouse just keeps finding ways to log on to your Facebook account and post embarrassing status updates.

Whatever the reason, you need strong passwords for all your online accounts.

Weak passwords can be guessed without much effort or cracked in just .02 seconds.

So how do I make a strong password?

Here's a simple, straightforward list of guidelines to follow as you password-protect your accounts:

  • Never use the word “password” or easy patterns such as “123456” or “qwerty”. These are the most commonly used passwords and the easiest to guess.
  • Don’t use personal information (names of pets, family members, loved ones, streets, birthdays, birth years, address numbers, etc.). These are also easy to guess.
  • Use different passwords for different accounts, because the same password over and over again means one lucky guess or successful crack grants access to all of your information.
  • AAaGT = Acronyms Are a Good Thing. Choose a phrase or saying that is easy for you to remember and select the first (or last) letters. A Little Nonsense Now And Then equals ALNNAT. Add a few numbers, spaces and lower case letters in and you’re in business: 13 a L N N a T 48.
  • Add site-specific sections to your password. For example, if the most basic version of a phrase-oriented password is You’11NeverGuessThis1, for Facebook your password could be something like You’11NeverGuessThis1_FB or You’11NeverGuessThis1_FaceB00K.
  • Use keyboard patterns. 1z2x3c4v5b6n7m is:

  • Simply remove vowels from words or phrases (smpl rmv vwls frm wrds r phrss) - yes, we counted “y” as a vowel there.
  • Spaces are a good thing. Using the previous password example, You’11NeverGuessThis1, using spaces would become You’11 Never Guess This 1.
  • RaNDom CApitaLs aRE gReaT Too.
  • Make up two moderate-strength passwords and put them together. For example, RandomExample33 and Unguessable129 combined would be RandomExample33Unguessable129. You could also throw a space or two in there: Random Example 33 Unguessable 129.
  • 62Sandwich words or phrases between numbers35.

There are even more strong password tricks and techniques, but these are some of the most direct and successful out there.

Basically, never use one word, especially one that people could guess about you. From there, variations of capital letters, numbers, spaces, and so on are great ways to go.

A weak password may be easy to remember, but it’s also a piece of cake for those who know what they’re doing and want to access your sensitive information. Remember: it only takes .02 seconds for a brute-force attack to solve some of the weakest passwords.

Still unsure of your password’s strength?

Check out this helpful password strength tool (fun fact: the “weakest” password example given in this blog post would take, at minimum, 48 thousand years to crack).

How long would it take to crack your passwords?

Written by Patrick Quinn on June 19th, 2014

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