I have a couple of passwords (and variations on them) that I regularly use for computer stuff. One is for less-important things, like corporate Websites, and another is for places that need more security, like email accounts. However, I suspected all of them could be improved, so today I checked mine with the Microsoft Password Checker. They failed big time, but I've improved them by following some suggestions about creating strong passwords.
Did you know that effective passwords should be at least 14 characters? They should also use a variety of character types and should not be a word found in a dictionary. A password needs to be long and complicated enough to protect you, but not so complicated that you'll forget it.
The article I used had a handy chart that listed one way to create strong passwords, along with examples which I found very helpful:
- To start, think of something meaningful to you, and put it into a sentence or two--about ten words total. They used Long and complex passwords are safest.
- Turn the sentence into a row of letters, using the first letter of each word--lacpasikms (10 characters)
- To add complexity, make half of the letters uppercase--lACpAsIKMs (10 characters), then add length with numbers by putting two numbers that are meaningful to you in the middle--lACpAs56IKMs (12 characters).
- Last, add length with punctuation and symbols--?lACpAs56IKMs" (14 characters)