They say the best password is the one you can’t remember. Well, with the way passwords are cracked now a days it doesn’t really matter whether you can remember your password or not. Brute force cracking techniques combined with social media data mining are resulting in hacking programs that are highly effective.
How can you keep your account secure?
Don’t open suspicious email
Use strong passwords (detailed later in the post)
Don’t download apps from unknown sources
Don’t use public devices (keyloggers)
Limit Social Media Profile Information
Keep server and / or CMS updated
To be secure we need to be unique but what you think is unique, may in fact be very common. Of the 10,000 most common passwords 91% of users use one of the passwords listed in the first 1,000!
To limit the damage of having an account hacked each of your accounts should have it’s own password. The trouble with multiple complicated and secure passwords is remembering them. This is where a system comes in to play, like using a secret agent decoder ring!
You could get really complex and use encryption methods from World War II or a Ceaser Cipher but a simple substitution method should work well enough. (If you’re interested in secret messages check out http://rumkin.com/tools/cipher/)
We will swap out key letters with a symbol or different letter. Here’s an example:
e = #
t = ~
a = 1
o = )
i = !
n = 6
s = %
h = $
So the password “cowboysrule” would become “c)wb)y%rul#”. This has exponentially increased the security of your password.
Why e,t,a,o,i,n,s,h? Because these are the most commonly used letters in the English alphabet.
Why #,~,1,),!,6,%,$? Because e’s turn into 3’s and the symbol on the 3 key is #, and so on. It doesn’t really matter as long as you choose a substitute that includes numbers and symbols and you can REMEMBER it.
In addition to substituting letters you should make sure to use as many characters as possible. Each additional character increases the potential combination and makes your password more secure.
By combining substitution, capital letters and increased length we can take one of the most commonly used passwords that will be hacked almost instantly, “cowboys”, and turn it into one that will take 157 billion years to crack. “c)wb)y#6##d6#wQB”
Something You Will Remember
What you need now is a system for your system. The name of a website is one of the most common passwords for that site. Many sites will not even let you use them! You can however apply your new system to the website name, maybe even type the encrypted name backwards. Ideally, you wouldn’t use the name of the site in any capacity but with enough variation you can still generate a very strong password and you would be able to remember it each time you visited the site.
Test Your Password
To test out your new password system try the website http://howsecureismypassword.net/ It’s fun!