Whether you’re a wannabe 13-year-old or the owner of a multimillion-dollar business, losing your password can have absolutely massive repercussions. Hackers are always on the hunt for prey like hungry vultures and we must ensure that we don’t give them a sniff by fortifying our accounts by strong passwords. Preventing your cell phone from being tracked and your computer from being monitored is as fundamental as breathing in this day and age. Here’s what you can do to create a password that would be a nightmare for any hacker vying to chop it open…
1. Make it complex
A complex password is one that is significantly long in characters (8 or more) and is alphanumeric in nature, with the usage of symbols as well. The longer the password is, the more time it will take for the hacker to crack it. The same goes for the more characters you use. Try to use as much length and width of your keyboard by using as diversified keys as possible. A nonsensical hotchpotch of a wide array of keys is the ideal password.
2. Add variation
Having the same password for all, or most, of your accounts – which is an incredibly common practice – is strictly unadvisable. While we are opting for convenience and ease, having the same password across the board also connotes that if one of them snaps, all of your accounts go out of the ballpark.
3. Regularly change the passwords
Now that you’ve created a complex blend of keys, and have varied it around to ensure its safety, the next step is to keep changing your passwords after regular intervals of time. Changing your passwords after every fortnight to a month, you could further shield your account from a hacking menace.
4. Use a password strength testing tool
A password strength testing tool tells you where your password lies on the safety gauge. It could range from being ‘weak’ to ‘best’ with ‘medium’ and ‘strong’ in between the two extremes. And of course it goes without saying the longer your password and the more diverse it is, the further up the safety scale it would be too.
5. Use a passphrase
Using a phrase instead of words can also help you elongate the password. It would be easy to memorize as well. What you can also do is add a word at the start of the phrase to differentiate different phrases for different platforms. Like for instance your Facebook password can have ‘face’ at the start of the phrase, hotmail account can have ‘hot’ and so on and so forth.
6. Don’t use personal information
Whether you’re using phrases or random words, never use information that is commonly known; like for example your name, your cell phone number, your favorite sports team or even your pet’s name. Trying those words or numbers would be the first course of action for any potential hacker which is why it is extremely important for you to steer clear of your personal information while coming up with a password.
7. Avoid using real words
As mentioned earlier, a hotchpotch of random characters is a million times stronger password than one that uses real words. A random array of keys is more difficult to crack open for the simple reason that deciphering haphazard keys would increase the hacking odds than figuring out a password that has real words in it.
8. Memorize the password; avoid writing it down
Of course, the downside of a complex password is memorizing it. But if what you’re getting in return is cell phone, computer and your accounts’ security, overexerting your little grey cells is definitely worth it. While you’re trying to memorize the password it is common practice to write the password on a paper. Avoid doing that. You never know who might be able to get access to that paper especially if you forget to destroy it.
Take these steps to ensure that your passwords have enough steel to ward off probing intentions and ascertain that your cell phone is not tracked and your computer is safe from monitoring. It’s about time you realize – if you haven’t already – that the door between your security and multi-pronged setbacks is your password. Make sure it’s made of strong construction material and is always bolted.
Jane Andrew is the author of monitoring software for computer and keylogger technology. She provides tips, tricks about cell phone security and privacy. You can also follow her on Twitter @janeandrew01 to get the latest tips about cell phone and computer security.