We all understand the importance of using strong passwords for our online activity. And if you follow this simple guide, the ones you use will be stronger than ever. Plus, you'll discover the best ways to keep them secure and make sure you don't forget them.
How to create a rock solid password
- Passwords should be at least 12 characters in length. The longer the better.
- Use a combination of upper and lower case letters, numbers and other characters.
- Put uppercase letters, numbers, and characters throughout your password, not just at the beginning or end.
- If using a sequence of random, memorable words, swap out some of the letters for numbers and use any available symbols for a space.
- Use a different password for every website.
Use passphrases with words and numbers that mean something to you, but that nobody else would be able to guess. This will help you to remember your passwords.
Here are a few examples of strong passwords:
- If you're a cat lover from Bristol born in 1966@: bR1stoLcAT10ver66
- If you enjoy takeaway at the weekend: p1zzA-eV3ry-5aturDay
- If your favourite food is cheese: I#r3aLLy#l1Ke#cH33se
Find it hard to remember all of your long, unique passwords? Thankfully help is at hand. Password manager apps securely store the username and password information for all the websites you use, allowing you to log in to them automatically.
Your list of passwords is encrypted and kept safe behind one master password, so you have much less to remember.
Although Android phones and iPhone have password managers built in, they only rely on your lock screen password, meaning they're far less secure than a dedicated app. Two of the most popular password managers are Dashlane and LastPass, and both are free to use at their simplest level.
Are there any downsides to password managers?
It may be risky to keep all your secure login information in one place, but it's far better to use a password manager to remember complicated passwords than to only use simple passwords or the same password for all. So if you don't think you'll remember complicated passwords on your own, use a password manager.
Just make sure the master password you create for your password manager is very, very strong.
Use a strong lock screen password too
If somebody can unlock your smartphone, they'll be able to access personal information stored on your phone, your email accounts and any websites you automatically log in to.
When creating a lock screen password, it's important to avoid an easy-to-guess code such as 1234 or 2580. Some smartphones will tell you if you choose a code that's too easy to guess, but not all.
If your smartphone gives you the option to use a 6-digit passcode, or a passphrase that uses letters and numbers, it's a really good idea to do so. Better still, if your smartphone has a fingerprint reader, use that as the way to unlock your phone.