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Password Security

18th June 2015

What was the last password you entered online? How bad would it be if this password got in to the wrong hands? Crush takes a look at passwords and password security

Do you use a password comprising the name of a loved one with a couple of numbers added on the end? Do you use the same password on other sites? You may need to think about how you put together your passwords and perhaps redo quite a few of them. Password hackers and cracking software get more and more sophisticated, so our passwords need to be complex and more sophisticated too. The harder the password is to remember, the chances are the harder it will be to crack.

It can be hard to create passwords which we can actually remember and work effectively but below are some ways you can put together long, effective passwords that should fool even the most sophisticated software.

Go big or go home

An eight character password has 1.6 quadrillion possible combinations, which, though it may sound impossible, cracker software can and is powering through as we speak. The longer the password, that you ultimately opt for, the more those quadrillion combinations increase exponentially. Thinking of a longer password may be difficult but it will give you more protection and security.

Combine Words Together

Returning to the previous point there are ways of making easy-to-remember long passwords. Combine together common words which usually don’t fit together and you’ll soon have something you’ll remember. We don’t necessarily recommend using names but you could combine together four words that just come into your head such as: “EggBalloonHandFloat” and you can be sure it will be hard for it to be easily cracked, especially with the addition of capitals at the beginning of each word. Adding a couple of numbers at the end or beginning will help with complexity but remember you need to be able to memorise it.

Common Phrases or Lyrics

If you have a favourite musician then why not pick one of their lyrics, possibly a more obscure one, and use that as your password. You could also put together a popular phrase or even, if you want to make it even more complex, create a mnemonic based on your phrase or lyrics. For example ‘IWtHYH’ could equal I Want to Hold Your Hand and the combination of letters couple with some numbers of your using will be really hard to crack.

What to Avoid for an Effective Password

Below are some big don’ts for your password, if you want to avoid hacks and cracks.

  • Don’t include any of your name or the name of your family members
  • Don’t use your favourite sport as your password – baseball and football rank amongst the worst passwords out there in recent research
  • Don’t use anything obvious like your date of birth/pet’s name/nicknames
  • Don’t use blank spaces
  • Don’t use a single word of any kind that can be found in a dictionary or encyclopaedia
  • Don’t use an alphabet or numeral sequence (abcdef or 12345)
  • Don’t use the same password for all of your online accounts

There are even websites that will generate randomised passwords for you. With these tips in mind you should be able to produce a password which is fit for purpose and limits your chances of a security breach.

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