|Creating a strong password
It is important for you to have a strong password. Your password should be at least 8 characters long, 14 or longer is ideal. Every character you add to your password increases the protection it provides. The greater the variety of characters that you use the harder it will be to guess. Strong passwords, therefore, often look like a string of random characters.
The steps below will help you to create and remember a strong password.
- Think of a sentence that you will remember e.g. My cat Sam has used his nine lives
- Turn your sentence into a password. Use the first letter of each word of your memorable sentence to create a string. In this example "mcshuhnl
- Make your password more complex. Mix up upper and lower case letters and add numbers. You can also add in intentional misspellings. e.g. in the sentence above you might change it to "McShUh9l"
- Substitute some of the letters for number or special characters. You can also use symbols that look like letters (i.e. $ for S), you can combine words or you can replace letters with numbers (i.e. 0 for o). Using these strategies you might end up with "Mc$hUh9l"
- Test your password using a password checker. This evaluates the strength of your password. If it doesn't return a strong result try again with a different sentence.
- Keep your password a secret. It is important that you keep your password secret.
Strategies for making up a password that you should avoid include:
- Avoid using sequences or repeated characters e.g. 123456789 or abcdefgh or qwertyui
- Avoid using only lookalike substitution of numbers or symbols. e.g. p@ssw0rd. These are alright if used in conjunction with other strategies.
- Avoid using your login name and don't use any part of your name or birthday.
- Avoid using words that appear in a dictionary. (Criminals are very good at guessing these, even if they are spelt backwards, or misspelt.
- Avoid using only one password for all your accounts.
- Be careful with password recovery questions.