password security

May 14, 2017

Tips for Strong Passwords

It’s a fact of this digital age that online accounts are becoming easier and easier […]

Tips for Strong Passwords

It’s a fact of this digital age that online accounts are becoming easier and easier to hack. The best we can do to keep our personal information safe is to take steps to make your accounts more difficult to be hacked.

The first and most important step is to create strong passwords — different passwords for different accounts. Here are some tips to create strong passwords:

• Don’t use anything your friends and family can guess. We’re not saying you can’t trust your friends and family not to hack into your account, but why expose yourself to needless risk?

• Don’t use words, names or dates you’ve written on your social media.

• Don’t use common words or phrases.

• Do make your passwords long — the longer the better.

• Use a mix uppercase and lowercase letters. Passwords are case sensitive so make use of that fact to make yours harder to crack.

• Do use numbers and symbols. Note: a lot of people replace letters with obvious corresponding numbers, such as switching o to 0, or i to 1. This may stop some hackers, but codebreaking software typically checks for these obvious switches.

• Do use non-words that aren’t in any dictionary.

• Do combine words, phrases, numbers and symbols. Be creative.

• Don’t be afraid to use password generators that can be found by Googling on the Internet. These will create random passwords that will be difficult for you to remember, but would be ideal if you used programs such as LastPass. Those programs will store all of your passwords, but you will still need to create a password you can remember to access them.

I’ll share with you my method of creating a password. I first pick an unforgettable song that I know the lyrics to, say “Billie Jean”.

“Billie Jean is not my lover,
She’s just a girl who claims that I am the one”

I take the first letter of each word:


I shall incorporate some numbers and symbols at the beginning, end and replacing the comma:

<3BJsnml+SjagwctIato! Since the last word of the lyric was “one”, I’ll replace it with 1: <3BJinml+SjagwctIat1! I can continue tweaking this, but it already ranks as a strong password. And now for the most important tip of all: • Change your passwords often, and never, ever reuse a password on another account. Here’s hoping these tips help you. Stay safe and secure!