It’s a Monday morning. You’re thinking about your first meeting while your laptop boots. After logging in, a dialog box appears, prompting you to change your password. “Oh bother” you think. “Didn’t I just change this thing a few months ago?” Well, you probably did. Changing your passwords on a regular basis is the first step in securing your laptop and data.
So now you have to think of a new password. You’ve already used “myDogFido”, and “iLoveFootball”. But then you remember hearing something about how bad guys use password cracking software to guess these types of passwords in no time. So how do you create a better password?
Here’s the answer:
You need something known as a strong password. Here is what every strong password should contain:
- at least 7 characters (but more is much better)
- some UPPERCASE letters (A B C D …)
- some lowercase letters (a b c d …)
- some numerals (0 1 2 3 …)
- some special characters (~ ! @ # $ …)
- NO dictionary words (e.g. “dog” or “love”)
- avoid personal information and sequential letters or numerals
OK, but mere mortals can’t easily remember something like “rT4#9c2A)”. How do you create a strong, yet memorable password?
Try starting with something you have on hand, like your favorite band’s first CD. What if the third song in that collection is called “Big Machine”. You now have some numbers:
- 3 (third song)
- 2007 (album release year)
Now be creative! Put a special character (e.g. “#”) into the blank spaces (Big#Machine). Insert “3” at the front and “07” at the end (3Big#Machine07). Substite the capitol “B” with an “8” and the “a” with “@” (38igM@chine07). Now capitalize every other letter that remains (38Ig#M@cHiNe07). To test it’s strength, try pasting it into a password strength tester.
Why not change your password now and apply what you’ve learned here? You’ll sleep better knowing that you are doing your part to protect your valuable assets.