You know what? Due to bizarre holiday calendar, today is Change Your Password Day. Not that we often celebrate such things, but… This one sounds weirdly useful, just the way we like it. And today we want to talk to about this “they’ve hacked my password” problem as well as about how to come up with a strong one and not forget it. But before we go there, let’s first take a look at combinations which made it to the “Worst passwords of the year 2015” list.
After looking at this image it’s possible to say that people are still obsessed with “Game of Thrones” series and “Lord of the rings” universe (otherwise “dragon” wouldn’t make it here). Besides, 2015 was definitely the year of StarWars, and football is still the most popular sports in the world. And, of course, passwords like “123456” clearly demonstrate that laziness is incurable. I hope that you haven’t found your password among these, but just in case if you have — make sure to change it once your finish reading this post.
So how to avoid having your password hacked? First of all, let’s state the obvious:
- If you want your password to be strong it must be at least 8 characters long
- It must not contain easily guessed information such your birth date, phone number, kid’s name, pet’s name, login name, etc
- It shouldn’t contain words found in the dictionary
- It should contain special characters such as @#$%^& and/or numbers
- It should use a variation of upper and lower case letters.
Once you have it all in mind, let’s talk about what helps to create strong and memorable passwords and how to do it in a creative way.
If imagination isn’t your strong side, there’s still a way to transform your password information into hard-looking and hard-to-hack one. To do so you can take a regular word and substitute numbers for some of the vowels. For example, the word “VOWEL” can be transformed into “V0W31” by replacing O to 0, E to 3 and L to 1 because they look pretty much similar and it’s easy to remember.
Another way is to choose a motor pattern on your keyboard and remember it instead of remembering actual password. As an example, combination “werdxcv” represents “Z” shaped pattern on my mac keyboard. And Z is also the first letter of my surname. So instead of remembering the password, I can just look at my keyboard and recreate the shape of any letter that makes sense to me. This helps a lot when you have problems with memorising things.
Something else you could do to create a cool password is to use your favourite anything. It can be a name of a song or a line from a book or your favourite dish. Something that you’ll never forget and that makes you feel good. For example, one of my favourite songs is “I love you for sentimental reasons” by Nat King Cole. And if I wanted to create a password based on this line, I could either use first letters ILYFSR either I could connect first and last letters of each word ILeYuFrSlRs. The last one looks pretty much like abracadabra for a stranger, but makes perfect sense to me.
Another cool approach is mixing words. For example, I’m a big fan of Mexican food, and burrito is one of my favourite dishes. But the thing is that I have allergy for spicy things and I usually prefer to have my burrito kind of mild. So based on this information my password could be “notspicyburrito” or “mildburrito”. Looks pretty easy, I know, so here’s a way to make it harder. You can mix the letters up so all first letters come first, all second letters come second etc. So if I take “mild burrito” phrase, my password will look like “mbiulrdrito”.
Of course, there’re so many more techniques that could help you create unhackable passwords. You can always reverse words or add spaces or make beautiful graphics out of letters.. Whatever works best for you. The main point is that when you create your password, it should make sense to you only. So now go change your password and celebrate “Change Your Password Day” with us!