What is a “strong password?”

Fact is, you have a choice: your network password can either be easy-to-use or it can be strong.

The easier it is to use, the less strong it becomes. And the stronger it is, the harder it is to use.

But there are some ways you can get a strong password AND one that is easy to use.

But first, let’s look at some examples of “easy” passwords to avoid:

  • Any word or combination of letters that is less than 4-6 characters in length.
    The shorter the password, the easier it is to guess.

  • Any word that is spelled out by using adjacent keys on your keyboard.
    “Qwerty,” “123456,” “zxcvb” and so forth.

  • Your spouse’s name
  • Your birthday
  • Any word that can be found in a dictionary.
    That’s right — hackers can use intricate software tools that can quickly make a list of passwords based on words in the dictionary (in multiple languages!) This software can even build a list of common words spelled backwards.

  • Common words with letters replaced with numbers (”P@ssw0rd”).
    This doesn’t fool anyone.

That said, it is possible to have a password that is secure AND easy to use. The first rule to follow is to agree that all strong passwords should be at least eight characters, and using a combination of letters, numbers, and symbols. And — it has to be easy to remember!

Here’s how to do it:

  1. Create a strong passphrase
    A passphrase is a sentence that you can remember, like “My daughter Ellen is three years younger than my daughter Anna.” By using the first letter of each word of the sentence you get “mdeityytmda.”

    But you can make this password even stronger — use upper and lowercase letters, numbers, and special characters.

    For example, start with the sentence above and add a few substitutions and you can end up with a very strong password that is still easy to remember: “MdLnI3yYtMd@.”

  2. Keep your passwords secret.
    Don’t write them down, don’t store them in a file on your computer, don’t send them via email, don’t tell anyone.

  3. Change your passwords on a regular basis.
    Make sure you are a moving target.

  4. Keep separate sets of passwords for each kind of website you log onto.
    Keep one set of very strong passwords for web sites that access your banking, or any kind of ecommerce transaction (Amazon, eBay, etc.) Use another set for everything else.

  5. Monitor your accounts regularly
    Make sure to check all your monthly financial statements. If there is ANY question at all about a transaction, call the appropriate company or bank immediately. Also, review your credit report each year.
Here's A Few More Related Posts:
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  2. Best Passwords
  3. Passwords
  4. How to create a user account in Windows XP

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