Creating and Managing Secure Passwords

Characteristics of a good password:

  • Good Length –  10 to 15 characters
  • Uses UpperCase and Lowercase characters
  • Includes special characters as well as numbers (at least one of each)
  • Can not be found in a dictionary
  • Meaningful to you in some way (for memorization purposes)

Creating a Secure Password

Avoid using any personal information when creating a new password. While this information may be easy to remember, information such as: birth dates, children/spouse/pet names, phone #’s, and addresses is not exactly private and can likely be found by the wrong people.

Try taking your favorite phrase or song lyric to create a word using only the first letter of every word. For Example: “Always forgive your enemies, nothing annoys them so much.” -(Oscar Wilde) would become: afyenatsm. Now this, combined with the characteristics mentioned earlier can become something like: Afyenatsm8@. Or, by substituting special characters for letters and mixing lowercase and uppercase, you could create a much more secure password such as : AfYeN@T5M.

Another good idea is to create a password solely based on the pattern it makes on your keyboard, at first you may only be able to remember the pattern but after some repetition, the password itself should begin to stick in your head.

Make sure not to use the same password for multiple Logins, try taking a password you have created and adding on something unique based on the account it is being used for. An example using the password created above for a Gmail account could be: AfYeN@T5_gM

Change/Update passwords regularly

While it might be a pain to keep changing account passwords, it keeps your personal information safe as you may not always know if one of your passwords has been cracked and an account has been compromised. It’s a good idea to come up with completely new passwords, however it would still be good practice to create a new password by tweaking your existing one in a few ways.

Storing your Passwords

If you are having trouble keeping track of all your passwords, it may be a good idea to store them in a secure place. KeePass is a free program that does just that. You are able to store multiple account passwords (as well as usernames and additional notes) in one very secure database. KeePass is accessed by a master password and uses the most sophisticated encryption algorithms to keep your passwords and usernames virtually “unhackable” (The encryption method, SHA-256, has no known attacks or evidence of being cracked).

Check out KeePass by clicking here