How to create a strong password in 5 simple steps
Almost everywhere you look online there’s a prompt to say ‘create a strong password’ or ‘password not strong enough.’
Most of us have online accounts for many different places and it can be a real struggle and frustration to remember which password is for which account!
Although we’re advised not to, we can be guilty of using the same password for a multitude of different accounts.
Creating a strong, memorable master password is one of the best things you can do!
Here are 5 simple steps to creating a strong password:
1. Length of password
Short passwords are not secure or strong enough. Long passwords are best as they are harder to crack. Aim for at least 12 characters – the longer the better!
2. Jazz it up by adding numbers and symbols!
Use a variety of upper-case and lower-case letters, add numbers and symbols too! Mix it up as much as you like. The more you add the tougher it is to crack! This password example has a good assortment of symbols, capital letters and numbers: C@nDyf1o$$!_99%
3. Don’t use certain words & numbers
Avoid names, places and stay away from dictionary words and combinations of dictionary words. Dictionary words are easy to break.
Do not use birth dates, phone numbers, postcodes or house numbers etc.
4. Mix it up
Jumble up the password as much as you can:
• Don’t put capital letters in the obvious places e.g. at the start of a word – mix it up as much as you can
• Don’t just add a number or string of obvious numbers at the end e.g. 123
Do not use similar passwords where the majority of characters are the same such as:
If one of these passwords is stolen then all of your other accounts which contain this format of password can be accessed.
Use a saying and incorporate shortcut codes or abbreviations. Use phrases that either mean something to you, or you associate with a type of site. For instance you could use song lyrics for your Spotify account or money symbols for your bank.
5. Check your password strength
You can check the strength of your password by using an online password checker such as:
This will evaluate the password and show the strength as a percentage. You can then tweak your password if it’s showing as too weak.
To add an extra layer of security turn on two-step verification whenever possible.
This technique of access control means that a user is only granted access after successfully presenting several individual pieces of evidence to an authentication process. When you set up two-step verification you need to register a trusted device. This is a device which can receive a verification code using SMS for instance. To then sign into an account you’ll need the log in password for that account plus the verification code you would have been sent.
As well as two-step verification there’s two-factor authentication. Here are some examples of authentication factors:
- A physical object in the possession of the user e.g. a USB stick or security token with a generated ID number
- Something secret known to the user e.g. PIN
- A physical characteristic of the user such as a fingerprint or eye iris
We hope the above has been useful and helps you on your way to creating strong passwords!
If you’re also looking for a way to manage and store your passwords you can read our other blog on the best password storing apps.