It is commonplace to see the phrase “Be sure to use a strong password.”  In fact, if you have any dealings whatsoever online, then you will constantly see it.  Why should you have a strong password? Well, for one thing if you don’t and your data is easily accessed, then it can be easily manipulated.  This is a very short and introductory guide on creating a strong password and how to remember one.

One of the best things to ever come out security seminars is the creation of password management systems.  If you correctly use a password manager the chances of your personal information becoming known is greatly reduced. The password managers that are available will create strong passwords and remember them for you, so you don’t have to. But, even if you do use a password manager, you are going to need to create a password for that application and then remember it.  This may seem like rudimentary stuff to most folks, but you will be surprised over the number of people who forget their passwords!

Most people use very weak passwords and to make matters worse, they then reuse them on different websites. According to standard security expert advice a strong password follows these guidlines:

12 Characters, Minimum: 12 to 14 characters in length are ideal. A longer password would be even better.  It should include Numbers, Symbols, Capital Letters, and Lower-Case Letters: If you use a mix of different types of characters then it will make the password harder to crack.

A word of caution: Don’t use a word located in a Dictionary or a combination of Dictionary words: This can be easily hacked using simple applications.  Don’t use obvious substitutions of numbers for letters, i.e. H0use is not a strong password just because you’ve replaced an o with a 0.

There is a trick for creating a memorable passwords and it really isn’t that difficult to remember.  You’ll need to think about how to come up with a memorable password to start. You don’t want to use something obvious with dictionary characters, so consider using this trick to memorize it.

For example, maybe you can find it easy to remember a sentence like “The first car I ever bought was a 1963 Camero SS. The cost was $34000.” Now you can then change those couple of sentences into a password by using the first digits of each word, so your password would become “TfcIebwa1963CSS.Tcw$34000”.

This would be considered a strong password at 25 digits long. A true random password may include a few more numbers and symbols and upper-case letters that are scrambled amidst it, but it is not bad for an example! If you work along a similar line you only really need to remember two short sentences and the password will simply come!

[Image via: jamesmparry]