Passwords are a key to your information and data in the computing world. Many of us have learnt the hard way, how to create strong passwords. Weak passwords leave you vulnerable. With the advent of on line banking, email, chats, and more, it has become important that you have different passwords for each one of them and that too, very secure.
By the way, there is no such thing as a truly 100% secure password. Passwords are always prone to guessing attacks, and the more automated password cracking tools get, the more important to have strong passwords that are periodically changed. Here, you will see how to create strong passwords and how to easily remember them.
- Use passwords that are long enough. Anything below 8 characters in length is considered weak, and with more powerful computers, anything below 10 would now be considered weak. Make sure you have a long password. Longer a password, longer it takes for a cracking tool to figure out the right combination of characters.
- Passwords from the English language are very popular. They lead to straight forward dictionary attacks. Now… this would mean that you should never use a password straight from a dictionary. The same would apply if you use any other language as the standard words would anyway be one among 26 in the English alphabet, and any digit one among 10.
- Passwords from the English language with a few numbers thrown here and there… bad choice yet again. These too are vulnerable to dictionary attacks. Well, the whole thing about English being the language of choice makes passwords a whole lot vulnerable.
- Passwords from any other language make you think you are still secure… but alas, that is also not true. End of day, you would still use a keyboard to type in the characters and the use of vowels determines how close you get to a combination of numbers, consonants and vowels. The vowels most used have a frequency based on which intelligent crackers can still work their way through your password.
- What we have seen above is a deliberate way of avoiding weak passwords based on common language use. Each scheme increases the chance that it becomes relatively more difficult to crack a password.
- To improve further upon password strength, you could use special characters such as @, !, %, $, `, ~, # and so on. Normally, you can use a password such as tomsawyer, tomsawyer1, 1tomsawyer23, t0msawy3r, and go on substituting vowels with a special character. You can also use t0ms@wy3r or t0ms@w%3r, and so on. It is up to you to determine what you feel is easy to remember for you.
- Another method of building a stronger password is to remember a sentence and take the first character as a part of it. For example, We remember the days when Michael Jackson‘s Thriller was a great music album. Now the password would be WrtdwMJ’Twagma. How’s that for a tough. Easy to recall, and all you need is pull out the first alphabets.
- Lastly, to make that password more tougher to crack, you use special characters. As in WrtdwMJ’Tw@gm@ or Wr!dwMJ’Tw@gma. Replace as many vowels as you can with special characters or numbers or any digits. Here’s the tougher one again Wr!dwMJ’Tw@gma0. And yes, depending on the sensitivity of the information stored on the system you access, you could build passwords more complex than that.
Now, you know how real, strong passwords can be constructed to safeguard your information. We will have a look at password storing software in our next article.