Passwords – We all use them every day.  Some of us have 3 or 4 main passwords we use every day but there are many online users that can have up to a dozen or so.  So, how can your password be as secure as possible within reason?

First, you should have a unique password for each of your important accounts.  Re-using passwords can be very risky.  If someone cracks your password for just one of your accounts, they could potentially gain access to other accounts. Important accounts would be for example, Your banking accounts, email, and social media accounts.   These accounts will contain personal information about the user.  This information can be used for a wide variety of criminal acts, such as, identity theft, online fraud, online abuse, and even cyber bullying.  It is extremely important for these types of accounts to have a secure password.


So, what makes a strong and secure password?

When creating a strong password, the rule of thumb is to use numbers, symbols (such as @, #, Or %) and a mix of upper and lower case letters.  Your passwords should be at least 16 characters long.  Also, try to think of a passphrase rather than a word.  Using a single dictionary word is vulnerable to brute force attacks.

Think of it this way.

  • @Security028424% is a strong password.

However, and even stronger password would contain a phrase that is uncommon and may have meaning only to you.

Such as:

  • !TheSecurityofMySocks1337@

This password is incredibly secure.  Plus, this can be a great way to make creating passwords fun!

The more characters your password contains the better it is.  Just adding a few more characters to your current password changes the difficulty of a hacker cracking it by orders of magnitude.

Another thing to keep in mind when creating your passwords is to never use personal information in them such as birth dates, addresses or ID numbers.  Also, avoid common or simple phrases like “password” or “letmein,” keyboard patterns such as “qwerty” or “qazwsxedc,” or sequential numbers and letter like “abcd1234.” Using these in your passwords can make the easier to guess.

Lastly, you should add extra layers of security whenever possible.  You can do this by opting into 2-step verification.  You might have had Google, Facebook or Steam suggest this to you.  Always use this.  With 2-step verification, once you enter the correct password you are then sent a code in a text message to enter.  Unless the hacker is in possession of your phone, this is completely secure.

I hope these tips shed some light on how to create strong passwords for all your accounts online.

Michael PowellMichael Powell

Student at St. Charles Community College.  Degree: Web Design / Multimedia A.A.S.  Programs: Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator, Dreamweaver, Premier, After Effects.  I enjoy every aspect of this field of study.  I am amazed everyday about how much work goes into both graphic / web design, my work so far in this field has been exciting, fun and thoughtful.