We use passwords for almost everything we do online.
From checking our emails and bank accounts to catching up with friends on social media.
Our passwords protect the things that are important to us, like our data, our money, our privacy, and even our identities.
To make things easier for ourselves, we often create passwords that are simple and memorable.
But we need to be careful.
A password that’s easy to remember is probably easy to guess.
So how do you create a password you won’t forget, but a cyber threat actor can’t crack?
It is possible!
First, let’s start with what to avoid.
A strong password shouldn’t include any personal information, like names of family members or pets, addresses, phone numbers, song lyrics, or birthdays.
You should also avoid easily guessed passwords like “password” or “1234”.
And to make a password really hard to guess,
you shouldn’t use a password at all!
Instead, try a passphrase — a mix of random words.
It should be at least 4 words, and 15 characters long.
To come up with one, just take a look around you.
The first four objects you see could make up the four words in your passphrase.
You have a password that’s unique to you, and less likely to be cracked by cyber criminals.
Although this may seem counterintuitive, this method has been proven by researchers to be effective.
Another way to come up with a strong password is to create a series of letters that make sense to you, but would be meaningless to a potential threat actor.
First, think of a memorable sentence, for example:
Then take the first letter of each word, capitalize letters, and add numbers and special characters in a way that you’ll remember.
Not bad, right?
But having a strong password isn’t everything. You still need to keep it safe.
Always use different passwords on every account or device, and make sure you log out when you’re done.
For important accounts, like your bank or the Canada Revenue Agency, it’s critical that you use a unique password.
If like most people you have too many passwords to create a random, unique password or passphrase for every account, consider using a password manager and always use two-factor authentication.
And most importantly, never, ever share your passwords, even with family.
Keeping your passwords secure is one of the most effective ways to increase your cyber safety.
But it’s not the only step you can take.
Visit getcybersafe.ca for more information and advice on all things cyber security.
Video: Creating a strong password
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