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techbytes

TDBS TechBytes

 

How to create a strong password

 

We all know we should do it!  So why dont we use strong password.  The simple answer tends to be because we easily forget long passwords.  Its not as memorable as your dogs name or date of birth.  The simple fact is, if you use weak passwords then the chances of getting compromised is high.

The most frequently used passwords for 2013 are of no surprise and are listed below.  How many of those reading this have used or are using one of the below password sources?

  1. Pet's name
  2. Significant dates such as wedding anniversary
  3. Date of birth of you or family member
  4. Childs name
  5. Family members name
  6. Place of birth
  7. Favourite holiday destination
  8. Football team or player
  9. Partners name
  10. The word 'password'

 

Now look at the list again, do you use facebook? Ever posted about your pet or family, raved about a holiday or announced when your birthday is? Chances are you have and its open to the public to get this infomation, that includes hackers!

So what can you do to secure your password?  The answer is quite simple and its easier to remember than you might think.  Below we have shown how to turn a simple password into something alot more secure.  Once you get the idea its simple to build on these tips to make a password much more secure. 

Take a word or sentance that you can remember easily.  Sometimes its easier to remember a phrase that is related to the where the password will be used.  For our example we shall set a password for the social media site.  The phrase we shall use is people being social  as passwords dont usually allow spaces we will write it as peoplebeingsocial Its not a bad password but it needs to be a little bit more secure.  The first thing we can do is change letters to numbers or non-alphanumeric characters.  There are many numbers that can be used instead of letters, 4 out of the 5 vowels can be changed easily - a=4, e=3, i=1 and o=0.   For this example we will change the I's and E's in the password.  So the password now looks like this p3opl3b31ngsoc1al 

Thats a little better but what else can we do?  Why not capitise some letters.  For this example we will capitalise the first letter of each word so the password now reads P3opleB31ngSoc1al

So now there is a mixture of upper and lowercase letters and a couple of numbers thrown in, whats next.  Most passwords allow non-alphanumeric characters and this is the final peice of the puzzle.  For this example we are going to use both the open and close brackets characters.  To complete my password im going to choose one of the words from the phrase which im choosing the second word B31ng and add it into brackets so that it reads as the final password P3ople(B31ng)Soc1al

So just by changing a few characters we have made a password which is simple to remember but has increased security.  As im sure your aware, you should always use a different password for every site you use so dont forget to use the same format, make it relevent to the site and you should have secure passwords in no time at all.

Speaking of time,  dont forget to change your passwords regularly,  it is advised that a password gets changed every 30 to 60 days.

 

QUICK NOTES

 

  1. Pick a phrase preferably one that is relevent to where the password is to be used to make it easy to remember
  2. Change 1 or 2 letters to there number or non-alphanumeric equivalent
  3. Change specific letters to capital letters
  4. Add non-alphanumeric characters inbetween words such as brackets
  5. Remember to use different passwords for each site
  6. Change your password regularly and dont repeat a password for at least 12 months.

 

For further help and assistance with security please feel free to contact TDBS for free advise and guidance on 01384 913613