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Creating a strong password is one of the most important (and overlooked) security measures you can take to ensure cyber security. One string of letters and numbers is all that protects you from a clever hacker who wants to start mucking around with your account. Luckily there are easy ways to generate passwords that are strong AND easy to remember. Read on for useful password creation tips, what to avoid when crafting a password, and helpful alternatives for password storage.
There are two essential password rules to consider when creating a password for the first time – length and complexity.
The easiest way to create a safe password would be to pick two random words, add a hyphen, and tack a number on the end. A space can count as a special character. That way you have a password that uses all of the rules and is still easy to remember. Some examples of that would be Scruffy-Piano53 or Crutch-Nail88 or Go Bulldogs62.
Did you know that you could make a password out of your favorite quote, line from a movie, or song lyric? "Passphrases" are not only easy to remember but unique to you as well. When creating a passphrase you still need to keep our stated rules in mind.
My favorite way to make a password incorporates all aspects of a safe password AND is easy to remember. Simply pick two of your favorite things, add a dash between them, and tack on your favorite number at the end. If you favorite food is pizza and you drive a 2003 Jeep, you could make your password "Pizza-Jeep03." You could use your pet's name, street you grew up on, favorite sports team, favorite TV show character, or anything else you can think of.
The days of looking around your desk for those password-filled pieces of paper are over. The number one tip we give our clients regarding password management is to throw away those post-it notes and get a password management system in place as soon as possible. Strong passwords can be hard to remember and are confusing when dealing with multiple login locations across the web. Programs like KeePass, LastPass, and 1Password do a great job of creating unique passwords, encrypting those passwords, and safely storing them for you in the cloud. You can also transfer these programs to your mobile phone or USB drives for the ultimate in portability and convenience. Check out our LastPass post for more info on how to properly configure and implement this service into your enterprise.
Whether you’re changing your password or creating a new one, it’s important to use different passwords for each website you go to. Since email access is also password protected, it’s never a good idea to use the same email address and password combination.
“Treat your password like your toothbrush,” said Clifford Stoll, U.S. Astronomer and author. “Don’t let anybody else use it, and get a new one every six months.” While funny, this still holds true today.