How to Create Stronger Passwords with Ease

  • Posted on: 10 February 2017
  • By: Jon

There is great wisdom (and therefore security) in the Internet-user practice of having good, strong passwords for themselves. While many people find it difficult to memorize complex passwords, there is a significantly less complicated password-sentence acronym technique that I believe is a very friendly way to create more secure online passwords for people who dislike having to create them on their own.

Essentially, you create a sentence or phrase that you can easily remember and then take the first character of each word or number along with any punctuation marks and combine them into your password. For example, if you used the sentence This 2nd technique is user friendly but still inferior!, then the password that you can create from this would be T2tiufbsi!. This provides a decent way in having a better level of password complexity while allowing you to be able to remember the password itself more easily.

While this is a convenient technique to use, there is the possibility that someone might guess the correct phrase that you use and then figure out your password…and the blame in this might be your own.  Using a favorite phrase that you have shared with people on social media, in publications or in real-life conversations is basically giving the world a roadmap to your password, and that’s a cybersecurity risk that no one really wants.  The easy and obvious way to help defend against this is to avoid using sayings or phrases that you have already shared with the public…find one that is radically different or just randomly create one that you will keep to yourself.

While the password-sentence acronym technique is useful, I still strongly advocate that the best method of password creation is using a combination of random alphanumeric and non-alphanumeric characters to create a strong, complex password for any account that is on the Internet.  Because they are randomly generated, there are no pre-existing clues that you would have to consider in creating your password.  Also, in real life, no one thinks of or verbally uses phrases like V$u[so4>2^YD or PB;S4:H=0M/q everyday, which makes it a unique item that is practically impossible to guess by a human and extremely difficult for hacking methods to defeat by brute force.

I like to use a free program called Password Generator XP to create my passwords.  It's a small and very simple program that allows you to generate strong passwords using uppercase letters, lowercase letters, numbers and/or special characters, such as $, [ and ;.  Once the program is active, you simply select what kind of characters you want to have, select the length of your password (I always recommend at least 18 characters or more), select how many different passwords you want to generate and then click on the generate button. You can then copy and paste your passwords to wherever you want.

Whether you prefer using the password-sentence acronym method or the Password Generator XP program or any of the free online password generators, such as Symantec's Norton Password Generator, it's important to keep in mind that having good complex passwords are among the first lines of defense for protecting your web accounts from prying eyes. They may be a pain to use in the short run, but your long term gains in security far out way whatever inconveniences they present to you now.

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