Here Are 6 Things To Keep In Mind When Thinking of a New Password
Choosing a password when making any account always feels like a chore. On the one hand, you want to make it secure enough so you don’t get hacked. Conversely, you’re afraid you’ll forget it if you make it too complicated.
But thinking of a new password doesn’t have to be so hard. Keep the following things in mind the next time you’re creating an account or changing an existing password:
Length is key
Password length is one of the first requirements you’ll see when creating an account. Most websites require a minimum of 8 characters. But that doesn’t mean you should always stick to that length. In fact, it’s better to go a step further and make it at least 12 characters. You can even make it over 20 characters for more sensitive accounts like banks.
This may seem unnecessary, but the fact is that longer passwords are more difficult to crack. Brute force attacks can easily decode a short password, but a longer one will take a lot of time – something hackers don’t like to waste.
Avoid the urge to re-use a password from another account
We’ve all done it. You get used to typing a certain password, so you set every possible account with that same password. Unfortunately, no matter how complex the password is, this exposes you to an even greater risk than having different weak passwords.
Threat actors have databases of breached credentials. All it takes is for someone to breach one of your accounts to gain access to all of them. For example, a breach on an insignificant gaming account can expose your online banking or other sensitive accounts.
Always set a different password for each of your accounts. This may be difficult, so you should consider using a password manager. Password managers can generate complex passwords and store them securely, allowing seamless and secure logins.
Include numbers and special characters
Single-word passwords are no longer a thing. If you have one, you can be sure it will get breached sooner rather than later. Modern passwords must include several numbers and special characters to maximize security.
Randomly switching up upper and lower case letters is also ideal for preventing incidents. Combining all of these will make your password potent and more adverse to brute force attacks.
The password shouldn’t make sense
The password should be as far removed from your personal life as possible. In fact, it shouldn’t even make sense at all. You should avoid using names or common objects.
One solid approach is to mix a series of random, unrelated words together while remembering to use lower and upper case letters, along with numbers and characters. For example:
Having words instead of random characters will make it easier to remember, but it also won’t make sense for a random person to guess it. However, it’s still best to use random characters, even though a password will be harder to remember.
You don’t have to change it often
Some sites require that you change your password every once in a while. But, several credible sources have spoken out against this practice, calling it “ancient.” Instead, it’s better to keep a complex password. There is solid logic behind this. People often switch from a strong password to a weaker one just for the sake of updating.
So, when setting a password, make it as complex as possible, knowing that you won’t have to update it anytime soon. This will also make it easier to go for stronger passwords. Why would you think hard of a password if you’re going to change it in a month anyway?
Common substitutions are no longer effective
Not long ago, a password-creation best practice was using substitutions for common words. For example, using “S3CUR17Y” for “SECURITY.” Unfortunately, hackers have since adopted to most common substitutions and can quickly identify them in brute force attacks. The hacking tools databases have been filling up for years and, at this point, contain most “leetspeak” passwords.
Common words are a major no-go for password creation, even if it’s with substitutions.
Thinking of a new password shouldn’t be stressful or take you ages. Remembering a few key points can make password creation much easier. Don’t forget the option of getting a password manager, eliminating the need to think of passwords in the first place.
If there’s one thing you take away from this article, it’s to make your new password as long as possible.