How to: create strong passwords

Despite being a key element in online security, passwords are often taken too lightly. I know lots of people – friends, relatives – who still use weak passwords that can be easily cracked, and they don’t seem to worry about it at all! Today’s technology allows almost anyone to launch brute force attacks – a special procedure that tests all possible character combinations until it finally finds out your password. Hence the need to use stronger passwords that can resist the attacks of any hacker. Here are some tips that can help you create better passwords – while keeping them easy to remember!

Some basic rules regarding passwords

  • Go for long passwords; eight characters should be your minimum.
  • The more variety of characters your password has (lowercase, uppercase, numbers, letters, typographic signs) the harder it’ll be to crack.
  • Avoid using words that appear on dictionaries, as well as obvious words like your name, your location, your family name or your pet’s name.
  • Never write your password down on a sheet of paper. And of course, never leave that sheet besides your computer.
  • Use a unique password for each website, social network or any other online service you subscribe to.
  • Never give your password to anyone.

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How to choose and remember a good password

This is the trickiest part: to come up with a good password that’s also easy to remember. We already gave you a few tricks to build strong passwords in the past, but here are a few more. An effective technique is to use a whole sentence, and then take only the first letter of each word:

We go from London to Oxford in 45 minutes – wgfLtOi45m
Going to Softonic by car takes me 20 minutes – gtSbctm20m

After creating your passwords, you can measure their strength with Passwordmeter.com

How to: create strong passwords

 

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Where to store passwords?

The safest way to store your passwords (yes, even better than that ragged piece of paper in your wallet) is to use a password manager. There are many passwords managers to choose from, each one of them with their own characteristics, so don’t be afraid to try a few. In any case, you should use one that stores passwords locally, encrypts the database and uses a master password to prevent unauthorized access.

How to: create strong passwords

Some of the most popular password managers on Softonic are Keepass, LoginControl, RoboForm2Go and LastPass, which works together with your web browser. If you ask me, I’d recommend SplashID, the password manager I’ve been using for the past 7 months – and which has already saved my life a few times. It’s got clients for Windows, Mac and mobile devices, including iPhone, Android, Blackberry and Palm.

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A radical solution: the PasswordCard

PasswordCard is a web service that creates a unique, credit card sized password generator every time you load the web page. Each one of these cards includes a bunch of randomly generated letters and numbers, organized in a table according to signs and colors:

How to: create strong passwords

PasswordCard works as an automatic password generator. To use it, you need to pick a standard passwords length, and then select a sign and a color that will be associated to the service you’re signing up for. So if I wanted 8-character long passwords, picked chose the euro (€) sign and the purple color, my password would be Ea6jw8tn

How to: create strong passwords

The problem with this method is that you have to remember the sign and color combination for each site, and that you must always carry the card with you – with the potential risk of losing it. In any case, each card has a unique identifier, generated every time you reload the page, which lets you create the same card again in case you need another copy.

[Via OnSoftware FR]

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