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Constructing a Strong Password

How do you create a password that hackers won’t guess?

Most of us understand the importance of having secure passwords to protect our corporate systems and personal data, but we don’t always know how to create a strong password.

Best Practices

Make sure you have a minimum of eight characters with at least three of the four complexity requirements—uppercase letters, lowercase letters, numbers, and non-alphanumeric characters. These are great practices for individuals to incorporate as well.

A good password is no good if you have to write it down because it’s so complex. This only transfers the security risk instead of mitigating it. So, passwords need to be complicated enough to deter hackers but easy enough to remember.

Here’s a trick that might help:

Step 1: Come up with a base word. Pick the name of a pet or any common thing that’s easy to remember. For example, say you once lived in Sacramento. You can use that to establish the base of your password and satisfy the required criteria for a strong password.

Remember: You need at least one capital letter and either a number or special character. So, using Sacramento as our base word, you could capitalize the first letter and/or substitute a zero for an “o” and a “$” for an “s.”

Step 2: Add more characters to the base word. Pick any four characters to add to the base word. Choose something you’ll easily remember.

Step 3: Store your password without worry. Now, write down the added four characters, along with a clue for the base word. Using our previous example, you would write down city0xyza, where city0 signifies Sacramento with a zero and $ and xyza represents the four additional characters.

So, even written down, this password reference would serve as a reminder of your complete password while revealing nothing to any roaming eyes. (Keep in mind that this example is a 14-character password. While that may be longer than the actual requirement, it may be easier to remember.)

And there you have it. Three steps to a more secure password!

What About You?

Do you follow the complexity requirements when creating a new password?

Any other tips or tricks you find useful?


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