Frequently Asked Question
Creating Strong Passwords
Last Updated a year ago
It is an annoyance for most, but when you realise how easily your password can be found out / hacked / cracked, you realise why we are so strict and encouraging of effective password policies. Just so you can see how a person may get hold of your passwords:
- Using personal information on social media.
- Using personal information registered to your domain (if you have a website and do not have domain protection).
- Buying your credentials on the black market.
- Reading unencrypted data in internet networks.
- Infecting your device with malware.
- Accessing your device remotely if allowed.
- Phishing (asking for your information / passwords from emails etc.).
- Brute force - many people use common words, so hackers may simply run a program that plugs in all words in a common dictionary and see which one works - or they have advanced programs:
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The basis of it is, a hacker will use any information they have about you, will have software that will do the hard work for them, and they can even be bought on the black market.
So here are some useful tips for creating effective passwords for all your devices that can keep you one step ahead at all times.
- Change the password regularly (at least every 90 days is best).
- Use at least 8 characters, but many may recommend that at least 12 is needed now.
- Use a mix of letters and numbers that are both uppercase and lowercase.
- Use multiple words - uncommon ones if possible.
- Use information that you might only recognise.
- Use non-dictionary terms.
- If you store passwords, use a secure and encrypted password manager.
- Regularly check your account for unusual activity and change your password if you notice anything suspicious.
- Use a reputable antivirus on your devices. Some even have excellent email spam filters.
- Use the word 'password'.
- Use sequential numbers or letters (12345 or QWERTY).
- Use the same password you have used for years (they can buy this information from old websites)
- Use your name or birthday.
- Use easily identifiable personal information.
- Use common letter substitutions
- anyone can guess that 2019 might be 2k19 or STAR might be ST@R
Handy Ways to Generate Passwords
- Use a strong password generator such as Avast's Random Password Generator.
- Take a sentence that you recognise or remember, and take the first 1 or 2 letters from each word and use that as your password
- No Luke, I am your father! becomes NLIAYF!
- Connect multiple random words (this may go well with a visual image).
- Cat in the Hat is NOT random.