In the modern world of computer security every website, game and computer requires a password. Often each password has different requirements of length and complexity. For most users this creates a huge headache of creating and remembering passwords. Hopefully some of the practices described in this post can help you to create more secure passwords and remember them.
When choosing a password there is so much to consider. If you can only take away one tip from this post let it be this…your password should NOT be a name or any word found in a dictionary. These passwords can often be cracked in seconds with the use of a Dictionary or Rainbow Table attack. The second most important thing to consider when creating a password is the length. Make sure you have a password that is at least 8 characters long because each digit you add to your password exponentially increases the difficulty of cracking it.
My favorite method of increasing the length and complexity of a password is creating a multi word phrase. So instead of “James” I can use something like “JamesSecretPassword”. Some passwords are required to have numbers and symbols which can easily be substituted for the vowels like so: “J@m3sS3cr3tP@ssw0rd”. Now all I have to remember is that the vowels have been substituted and each word has been capitalized and voila! I now have a very secure password.
No matter how easy your passwords are to remember it can still be difficult to remember which password you created for which account. While you could use the same password for every account that can cause very serious issues and limits the overall security of your online accounts and identity. I recommend downloading a password vault. These are small pieces of software that can be integrated into a browser or downloaded as a stand alone application. My favorite password vault is KeePass (http://keepass.info/). This is a stand alone application that I use to store all of my passwords securely. Now I only have to remember one master password and I have access to all of my passwords in a secure location. If you want your password vault to be a more integral part of your online experience you can download add-ons for your browser which will not only save your passwords securely but also auto populate your username and passwords for frequently used pages. I tend not to use these as they often feel too intrusive on my user experience.
Of course the responsibility of keeping a password safe is not just the responsibility of the user but also the responsibility of the developer. Check back later for information on how we, as developers, keep your password safe.
Here are a couple of tools provided by Microsoft to help you create a secure password.