Choosing a Password, Part 2
Yesterday, we looked at some of the most commonly hacked passwords and things a computer user should avoid when selecting a password. Given that one shouldn’t use real words, personal information, or easy-to-remember number combinations (i.e., 123456), how can you come up with something memorable and secure?
According to this article by Microsoft, you might want to try this strategy:
- Start with a sentence.
Complex passwords are safer.
- Remove the spaces between the words in the sentence.
- Turn the words into shorthand or intentionally misspell a word.
- Add length with numbers. Put numbers that are meaningful to you after the sentence.
Length is one of the keys to a strong password, with eight or more characters being preferable. Using the entire keyboard – numbers, letters, punctuation, symbols -- also can help by creating complexity through variety. (Note, though, that hacking software easily picks up conversions such as “&” for “and” and “2” for “to.”)
If you’re curious about the strength of your password, try out Microsoft’s password security checker, which will rank your choice on a scale of weak to strong. Beyond these safety measures, one of the best tips is to change your password regularly, especially if you think somebody might be on to it.