The difference between a hacker stealing your hard-earned cash and ignoring you completely could be as simple as five or six characters. Modern hackers usually use computer programs to help them guess weak passwords in a short period of time. But what makes a strong password? Let's go through a few options for making a foolproof, secure password.
DYK the top three passwords are password, 123456 and 2345678?
Length Is Key for Password Security
Five completely random characters (including symbols, numbers and capital letters) would still take a computer program under one second to crack. Adding five additional characters would take that same hacking program nearly six years to crack. Put simply, longer passwords are exponentially harder to decode.
Add Variety for a Strong Password
There's a reason some websites require your password to contain a capital letter, lowercase letter, number and symbol. If you expand the number of characters you use, then the hacker faces a much larger set of permutations.
Random but Easy
The ideal password would look something like Aofd8b%oq13uFAO#30CDfgasjFJf[a]-3. Of course, no one wants to take the time to memorize something like that. Instead, we can randomize in a different way. Hackers first work by guessing at words or strings of words that are commonly grouped together. By stringing four or five random words together, you confuse the computer program. For example, CoffeeWarbleGeekChalk would take an average hacking software program roughly 861 quadrillion years to stumble across.
Make sure that your password is difficult to guess at, but not so difficult you'll forget. If you use our suggestion above, try picking a few random words that mean something important to you. Maybe the name of your school followed by the name of your dog and so on. A password does you no good if it's too complicated for you to remember.
If you want to get that last edge in password security, you could try a password generating software. Programs like 1Password and Lastpass let you log in to their service with one master password. Once logged in, the software generates and stores passwords for all of your programs. Make sure that your master password still follows our rules for crafting an unbeatable password.
Important note: Your words should not easily pair together. For example, LittleRedRidingHood is a weak password because the words are too often associated with each other.
Put your password to the hacker's test at howsecureismypassword.net.
Best Buy 2016-09-12T09:30:50-05:00