Are Your Passwords Strong Enough?

As soon as I have published my last video Good passwords, bad passwords, I got an email from a so-called hacker.  I frankly have not been able to figure out if he is a full-pledged hacker or just a script kiddy.  He is just a kid!

Then, earlier today, I came across an article “A Strong Password Isn’t Strongest Security“, which gave an ill advice about the password security.

But anyhow, what the hacker was trying to tell me in his email is that the good passwords do not even matter anymore, because hackers do not use the old-fashioned password cracking techniques any longer.  They use malicious tools such as keystroke loggers, rootkits, desktop monitoring programs, etc.   And I started thinking, “Is what I am doing here absolutely pointless?  Is everything I am learning unnecessary? Am I delivering outdated information to my readers and listeners? ”   But then I thought, “Hm, why am I even listening to that hacker’s statement?”   In reality, having a strong password is your first line of defense.  Not the only one, but it is a good idea to set a good password.   You have to protect your computer, your network, wireless network, your online transactions, etc.  The cyber criminals will always try to get to your computer, but why would you make it too easy for them?   To make a strong password, you must make sure it is long.  The best thing, of course, is to have a password that looks like a random row of characters.  The longer and more random it looks, the better.   But people would much rather to come up with something they can remember.  I sure do agree with this statement.  But the easier it is for you to remember your password the easier it is for the hacker to guess it.   So, here are a few suggestions on how to create a strong password:

  • Make your password at least 8-14 characters in length
  • Avoid using dictionary words even if they are in a different language
  • Use Upper and Lower case letters
  • Do not use any personal identifying information for your password, for example,  your date of birth, your relatives’ date of birth, names, pet names, etc.
  • Do not use letter or number sequences: ABC or 123
  • Use special characters such as &*%^)
  • Use numbers
  • Change your passwords frequently and never use the same password for all of your accounts.

Here are a few suggestions on how to come up with a password that looks very random, but still easy for you to remember:

  • Come up with a phrase or a quote.  In this case, just as an example, I am going to use “I would like to create a strong password.”
  • Take the first letter of each word to create a “skeleton” for your password.  In this case it is iwltcasp
  • Change some letter to an Upper case.  For example, at the beginning, in the middle and at the end: IwlTCasP
  • Add some special characters: %Iwl#TC^as-P
  • And now, let’s add some numbers: 2%Iwl#T8C^as-P

You can absolutely write your passwords down, but make sure you hide them where no one will get to them.  And never share your password with anyone!     I hope this information was helpful, and you will re-think your password attitude.

About the Author

Lana is a real life Identity Theft Victim. Identity Theft Manifesto is a result of her own struggles to clear her credit, her name and reputation. She is on the mission to research, learn more and educate her readers about ID Theft Crime.