6 Techniques For Creating Strong Passwords

The Bombe Machine
Secure Your Passwords.

Introduction

Cyber crime is at an all time high and hardly a day goes by without a large company announcing large data losses.

Some might argue that it hardly matters whether you choose a good password or not because hackers are often bypassing the front door and attacking large servers via security vulnerabilities.

Regardless of this fact you should do everything in your power to make sure that people don't enter through the front door.

The high processing power of computers has made it easier for bots to bludgeon their way through security systems by using brute force, a technique whereby every possible combination of username and password is attempted.

This guide provides some simple and somewhat obvious approaches to securing your username and password. 

Choose A Long Password

Imagine I had a computer and I needed to log in to your account. I know your username but I don't know the password.

It seems obvious but the longer the password is the more attempts it is going to take me to guess that password.

Hackers won't be typing in each password one by one. They will be instead using a program that uses every possible combination of characters.

The shorter passwords are going to be broken much quicker than a long password.

Avoid Using Real Words

Before attempting every single combination of characters to try and guess a password a hacker is likely to try a standard dictionary.

For instance imagine you have created a password called "pandemonium". It is reasonably long so it is better than "fred" and "12345". However a hacker will have a file with millions of words in them and they will run a program against the system they are trying to hack trying every single password in the dictionary.

A computer program can attempt the login to the system a number of times a second and so processing the entire dictionary will not take that long especially if there are a series of computers (known as bots) all attempting the hack.

Therefore you are much better off creating a password that doesn't exist in a dictionary.

Use Special Characters

When creating a password you should use special characters including uppercase letters, lowercase letters, numbers and special symbols such as #,%,!,|,* etc.

Don't be fooled into thinking that you can use a standard word now replacing common letters with numbers and symbols.

For instance you might be tempted to create a password called "Pa55w0rd!".

Hackers are much too clever for this sort of technique and the dictionaries will not only have a copy of each real word they will have the real word with combinations of special characters. Hacking a password called "Pa55w0rd!" would probably take milliseconds to crack.

Use Sentences As Passwords

This concept isn't about using an entire sentence as a password but using the first letter of each word in a sentence as a password.

How does this work?

Think of something important to you such as the first album you ever bought.

Now you can use that to create a password.

For instance imagine your first album was "Purple Rain" by "Prince". A quick Google search tells me that "Purple Rain" was released in 1984.

Think of a sentence using this knowledge:

My Favourite Album Was Purple Rain By Prince Released In 1984

Using this sentence you can now create a password by using the first letter from each word as follows:

MfawPRbPri1984

The casing is the important thing here. The first letter is the first letter in the sentence so should be uppercase. "Purple Rain" is the name of the album so should also be upper case. Finally "Prince" is the name of the artist and therefore should be uppercase.

All the other characters should be lowercase.

To make it even more secure add a special character as a delimiter or at the end. For instance:

M%f%a%w%P%R%b%P%r%i%1984

This might be a bit overkill when typing it in so you might just want to add a special character to the end:

MfawPRbPri1984!

The above password is 15 characters long, is not a dictionary word and includes numbers and special characters which by anybody's standards is quite secure and because you came up with the subject you should be able to easily remember it.

Use Different Passwords For Each Application

This is possibly the most important piece of advice.

Do not use the same password for all of your accounts.

If a company loses your data and the data is unencrypted the hackers will see the password you have used. 

The hacker can then try other websites with the same username and password combination and access other accounts as well.

Use A Password Manager

Another good idea is to use a password manager such as KeePassX. This allows you to store all of your usernames and passwords in a secure application.

Using the password manager you can get it to generate secure passwords for you. Rather than remembering the passwords you log in to the password manager and copy the password and paste it in.

Click Here For a guide to KeyPassx