How to Create a Strong Password

How to Create a Strong Password

The first thing that you will need to know is that there is no such thing as a perfect password. A committed hacker can crack any password, given enough time and the right "dictionary" or "brute force" tools. But just like breaking into a car, if the protection is strong enough, the hacker will become discouraged and commonly give up before the protection fails. Here are some suggestions on how to create a better password.

  1. Start With a Base Word Phrase.
    A good password starts with a base word phrase. This means: choose a memorable catchphrase, quotation, or easy-to-remember saying, and take the first letter from each word. Examples of some base word phrases:

    • Can't See the Forest Through the Trees: cstfttt
    • You Can Lead a Horse to Water: yclahtw
    • The Last Mile Is Always Uphill: tlmiau
    • I Think, Therefore I Am: ittia
  2. Lengthen the Phrase
    Passwords start to become strong at 6 characters long. While a long password can be annoying to type, a long password really helps to slow down brute force hacker attacks. Tip:lengthen your password by adding the website name or computer software name to the base phrase. For example:

    • cstftttGmail
    • yclahtwWin7
    • tlmiauMac
    • ittiaAboutdotcom

    Tech tip: passwords that are 15 characters and more are extremely strong, because Microsoft Windows will not store scrambled passwords in hidden files once they are 15 characters or longer.
  3. Scramble the Phrase
    Scrambling does not necessarily mean rearranging the letters. Rather, scrambling your password can effectively be achieved by swapping one or more of the password letters with a non-alphabetic character, and then purposely including uppercase and lowercase letters within the password. Scrambling creatively uses the shift key, punctuation marks, the @ or % symbols, and even semi-colons and periods. Using numbers as substitutes for letters is another strong scrambling technique.
    Examples of scrambling:

    • CstftttGm@il
    • Ycl@htwWin7
    • 7lmiauMac
    • ittiaAboutdotcom
  4. Lastly: Rotate/Change Your Password Regularly
    At work, your network people will require you to change your password every several days. At home, you should rotate your passwords as a matter of good computer hygiene. If you are using different passwords for different websites, you can do yourself a favor by rotating portions of your passwords every few weeks. Note that rotating parts of the password, not the entire passwords, will help deter hackers from stealing your phrases. If you can memorize three or more passwords at the same time, then you are in good shape to resist brute force hacker attacks.
    Examples:

    • mdfl((Gmail
    • CstftttVista
    • Ycl@htwMac
    • 7lmiauAboutdotcom

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