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5 tips for strong, memorable passwords that are difficult to crack

By October 30, 2013 No Comments

(This is a guest post from Bert Curtin, a Senior Information Assurance and CLAS Consultant at Ascentor)

Hardly a week goes by without one organisation or another being hacked and user account details and password files being made public on the internet. Is there any hope that our passwords will be safe?

Actually there is some hope…but we all have to play our part and choose strong passwords!

Hopefully the organisations we have online accounts with will be doing their utmost to protect our personal information, and in particular our passwords. Even if they are, that’s not the end of the story as simple passwords can still be cracked quite easily by hackers. We still need to do our bit by making sure that we have strong passwords that will be much more difficult for hackers to crack.

There are lots of ways to create strong but easy to remember passwords. Here are  5 tips for obtaining strong and memorable passwords to show how easy it is:

1. Think of a word and a number

Word = Olympics
Number = 1066

All you need to do is mix these up a bit to come up with a good password. For example:

10Olympics66
Olym10pics66
1Ol0ym6pi6cs

Top Tip – Make sure you mix it up. The password Olympics1066 is not as good as the others.

2. Think of a lyric, name and a number

Lyric= She was more like a beauty queen from a movie scene

Name = Michael Jackson

Number = 1983 (Song released in this year)

Choose the first letter from the phrase and mix the initials and number in. For example:

SwmlabqfamsMJ1983
MJSwmlabqfams3891
M19Swmlabqfams83J

Top Tip – Once you decide on how you want to mix it up, stick with it. If the mixing it up part could confuse you then you could write down a memory jogger! – See how at the end?

3. It doesn’t have to be too long

Phrase= Just like that

Name = Tommy Cooper

Number = 1921 (His birth year)

JltTC1921

You get the idea!

4. Write down a memory jogger

We all need help remembering things so why not write down something to help jog the memory. It will be very unlikely that someone will be able to decipher a decent memory jogger. You can write things down in such a way that they make perfect sense to you but are useless to someone else.

Lets take the Tommy Cooper example. You could have ‘Tommy’ written down in your address book then you could follow this with a memory jogger, like so:

Tommy: Idp-pdI

Which in this case would stand for Initial-date-phrase-date-Initial

Using this would give a password of:

T19jlt21C

Note – the phrase is now all in lower case here.

5. And finally…

Remember, you really need to change your passwords every so often as you never know if your password is in the wrong hands.

The biggest problem we all face is that we have so many online accounts that we forget what they are. Give yourself a fighting chance and have a list somewhere that you can add to for all the shopping sites, social sites and other organisations that you have used a password for. If you want to change a password, you will at least know where to look!

Good luck.

T: 01225 442566

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