How to Build Safe Passwords

New Year, New Passwords 

It’s a new year! Moving forward into 2020, we all have resolutions we want to achieve. Whether it be going to the gym, tackling that creative project, or getting outside more, all of us are looking ahead towards a better future. With this being said, let’s add an easy resolution that you can knock out right now without needing several months to get motivated! You guessed it, let’s change some passwords! 

We propose something different this year – let’s ditch the confusing jumble of letters + random numbers + absurd special characters. Instead, lets choose passwords we can actually remember and at the same time be harder for hackers to steal. Let’s make sentence passwords

The reality is, we as humans weren’t meant to memorize complex passwords. Because of the many security requirements and regulations, our passwords are always changing and seemingly getting more and more complex. The fact of the matter is, those special requirements are more likely to get your password compromised than protect it!  

Here’s why: 

Approximately 80% of data breaches and hacks are due to end users getting their password stolen or being social engineered (which is just a fancy way of saying “getting users to willingly give up their passwords because you’ve tricked them”). The number of fake login sites is astounding; phishing emails are constantly being sent trying to get users to “log in to get important security updates”. So, on top of the constant threat of accidentally entering our password in the wrong place, we also have to content with all the corporate data breaches that have occurred over the past three years. 

Instead of moving into 2020 with uncertainty and fear about your passwords not being secure, lets smash that bug once and for all by building healthy habits moving forward! 

How to Build a Strong Password 

What exactly makes a strong password?  The answer is much simpler than you’d think:  

  • Make your password long 
  • Make it memorable 
  • Make it something that only you will remember  

Instead of littering your passwords with cumbersome special characters, numbers, and camel cased letters like… 

Qu@rksRFun@#$ 

…try something more like this… 

(0)MypasswordisAbsolutelysecure 

Believe it or not, having a long password that is a sentence or easily-remembered set of words is more secure than a short, complex one. This is because you will be less likely to write it down on a sticky note and slap it on the side of your monitor (please… we beg of you… stop this). And as a cherry on top, a sentence password is typically faster to type than a short, complex password.  

How to Keep a Password Strong 

Now, here’s something else that is critically important. You need to be using different passwords for different logins. If you have a hard time remembering multiple sentences, that’s okay; we forgive you because there’s a way around it. Let’s assume we’ve got a good password… 

(0)MypasswordisAbsolutelysecure 

Since you don’t want to be using the same *exact* password for every website, you will need to create some simple variations between them all. For Facebook, you might add an “FB” and a “62” (F = 6th letter, B = 2nd letter) hidden somewhere in the password. Example… 

(0)MypasswordisFBAbsolutelysecure62 

Be creative in how you design the variations; have fun with making your password difficult and secret! But beyond that, take pride in knowing that you’re making your password difficult to steal (and frustrating the hackers at the same time)! 

In order for this to work… 

There is one caveat to this advice – we strongly recommend that you avoid the bad habits listed below. (Anytime our technicians talk about passwords, you’ll hear them say these same things)… 

  • Don’t write your passwords down on sticky notes or excel files 
  • Don’t use the same password for all your logins (create variations) 
  • Don’t share Passwords with friends (just make a guest account on Netflix) 

It’s literally that simple! You can immediately increase both your online security and make life easier in one fell swoop.  

Give Kitsap Networking Services and Sequim I.T. a call if you’d like additional tips and tricks on keeping you and your business secure: 360-516-6741