How Secure Is My Password?

How secure is my password? These days, without a strong password you are seriously at risk of exposing vital information to nefarious script kiddies, so you may be asking, “How secure is my password?” The old “abc123” just won’t cut it! In fact, it’s no secret that the number of times you’ve lost that password down the memory rabbit hole is ridiculous. Also, I bet you’ve had to write down a meaningless string of characters on a post-it note under your desk countless times, right? But how do you create that key to the castle without hurting your already overtaxed brain?  Here are some surefire ways to creating a strong password you can use to keep one step ahead of those Mr. Robot types.

Chain around keyboard
“How secure is my password?” won’t be a question with these tips!

The traditional password advice still holds

You can’t go wrong with tried-and-true advice passed down from the cyber sages. A strong password should consist of:

  • A minimum of 12 -14 characters: Sure there are still plenty of sites that will ask for an 8-letter password, but if you have the luxury of adding some characters do so for extra peace of mind.
  • Do NOT use a username, real name or company name: That’s like giving a thief some coffee and a back rub, while the crook breaks into your house. Resist the temptation!
  • NO dictionary words or combination of dictionary words: Again, you do not want to make it easy for the perp to digitally execute acts of menace. Keep away from the obvious, like “cat,” “housecat,” “walkingdead” or “gameofthrones.” You get the gist!
  • It’s notably different from your previous password: Making a simple substitution of a previously used password is going to stick out like a sore thumb. Change things up! You can be creative. None of this adding one number to your existing password nonsense. Jeez!
  • It should include numbers, uppercase letters, lowercase letters and symbols: Using a combination of these characters will make it much harder for that code cracker.

Keep them guessing with a passphrase

It’s never a bad idea to use a password that may be complicated to other but makes total sense to you. This is where the concept of the passphrase comes into play. String a bunch of random words together that have no association whatsoever and no one would ever think to put them together, like say those words you see in captchas. You know, those awful captchas you have to enter when you just want to buy a concert ticket.  From there you could apply the lessons we’ve already learned and the results would be hard to crack. Heck, you could even ad that passphrase to a password you’ve already created. Oooh, nice!

Utilize modern age password tools

Why rack your tired noggin when you have tools at your disposal that can solve all your password woes and skillfully answer that nagging question: “how secure is my password.” May we suggest starting with a password generator. All those guidelines we discussed above can now be handled by a handy computer or app. Sure, a strong password generator can generate a random password, but random doesn’t always mean secure. It’s best to use a generator that can be customized to ensure the password complies with the rules we’ve previously discussed. There is a limitless supply of password generators available, ranging from those on the Internet to mobile apps to more robust tools.

These days most password managers come with a strong password generator. Why not kill 2 birds with one stone! It’s not easy keeping all those strong passwords straight when you have to have one for every website you log into. With a password manager you can store and organize passwords with a master password granting access to the entire password database. Passwords can be stored on the user’s computer or in the cloud, in a provider account or user cloud account. Additional features can include biometrics, syncing between different devices, logging into sites automatically, auditing your passwords, and even filling in web forms for you. Some of the most popular password managers out there are Dashlane, LastPass, 1Password, 1U Biometric, PasswordBox and RoboForm, to name a few.

Be Diligent In Answering How Secure Is My Password

Finally, even with all this advice we still can’t sit on our laurels. It just a fact of life these days that you need to keep your whole security regime strong. You should have backups of your data, your operating system should be up to date, your hardware should be as current as you can afford, your personal data should be kept private, and wiping old hard drives and phone cards is always a good idea . Technology moves at lightning speed so the onus is on us to keep up with it and make sure we are protected. It’s hard word but at least you know where to start so you won’t be asking yourself, “how secure is my password!” Happy surfing!

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