Strong passwords: 9 rules to help you make and remember your login credentials

Strong passwords may help preserve your knowledge locked down

James Martin/CNET

Strong passwords are in fact key to your safety. The problem is to create robust passwords you may really keep in mind, with out stumbling into the unhealthy habits that may hurt you — like reusing the identical password for a number of accounts. But what number of passwords are you able to really keep in mind? You might simply have 85 passwords for all your accounts, from banking to streaming to social media, in response to LogMeIn, which makes the LastPass password supervisor.

Weak passwords, or overusing the identical password, can have severe penalties in case your knowledge is compromised — even when that password is powerful. For instance, companies reported 5,183 data breaches in 2019 that uncovered private data like login credentials and residential addresses that somebody might use to defraud you or steal your identification. And since 2017, hackers printed 555 million stolen passwords on the darkish net that criminals can use to crack into your accounts.

Password safety could not fully stop your knowledge from being uncovered, however these finest practices may help reduce your threat whether it is. Here’s easy methods to create and handle the perfect passwords, easy methods to discover out in the event that they do get stolen, and one important tip to make your accounts much more safe.

Use a password supervisor to maintain observe of your passwords

Strong passwords are longer than eight characters, are onerous to guess and comprise a number of characters, numbers and particular symbols. The finest ones can be troublesome to recollect, particularly should you’re utilizing a definite login for each web site (which is really helpful). This is the place password managers are available.

A trusted password manager such as 1Password or LastPass can create and retailer robust, prolonged passwords for you. They work throughout your desktop and phone.


password supervisor may help you retain observe of your login information.

The tiny caveat is that you’re going to nonetheless should memorize a single grasp password that unlocks all of your different passwords. So make that one as robust as it may be (and see under for extra particular tips about that).

Browsers like Google’s Chrome and Mozilla’s Firefox additionally include password managers, however our sister web site TechRepublic has concerns about how browsers secure the passwords they store and recommends utilizing a devoted app as a substitute. 

Password managers with their single grasp passwords are, in fact, apparent targets for hackers. And password managers aren’t excellent. LastPass fixed a flaw final September that might have uncovered a buyer’s credentials. To its credit score, the corporate was transparent about the potential exploit and the steps it would take in the event of a hack.

Yes, you may write your login credentials down. Really

We know: This suggestion goes in opposition to every part we have been advised about defending ourselves on-line. But password managers aren’t for everybody, and a few main safety consultants, just like the Electronic Frontier Foundation, recommend that protecting your login data on a bodily sheet of paper or in a pocket book is a viable strategy to observe your credentials. 

And we’re speaking about actual, old school paper, not an digital doc like a Word file or a Google spreadsheet, as a result of if somebody positive aspects entry to your computer or on-line accounts, they will additionally acquire entry to that digital password file.


Keeping passwords on a sheet of paper or in a pocket book would possibly work finest for some individuals.

Graphic by Pixabay/Illustration by CNET

Of course, somebody might additionally break into your home and stroll off with the passkeys to your whole life, however that appears much less probably. At work or at house, we suggest protecting this sheet of paper in a secure place — like a locked desk drawer or cupboard — and out of eyesight. Limit the quantity of people that know the place your passwords are, particularly to your monetary websites.

If you journey usually, bodily carrying your passwords with you introduces larger threat should you misplace your pocket book. 

Find out in case your passwords have been stolen

You cannot all the time cease your passwords from leaking out, both by a knowledge breach or a malicious hack. But you may examine at any time for hints that your accounts may be compromised.

Mozilla’s Firefox Monitor and Google’s Password Checkup can present you which ones of your electronic mail addresses and passwords have been compromised in a knowledge breach so you may take motion. Have I Been Pwned may also present you in case your emails and passwords have been uncovered. If you do uncover you have been hacked, see our guide for how to protect yourself.

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Avoid widespread phrases and character mixtures in your password

The aim is to create a password that another person will not know or be capable to simply guess. Stay away from widespread phrases like “password,” phrases like “mypassword” and predictable character sequences like “qwerty” or “thequickbrownfox.” 

Also keep away from utilizing your identify, nickname, the identify of your pet, your birthday or anniversary, your road identify or something related to you that somebody might discover out from social media, or from a heartfelt speak with a stranger on an airplane or on the bar. 

Longer passwords are higher: eight characters is a place to begin

eight characters are an important place to start out when creating a robust password, however longer logins are higher. The Electronic Frontier Foundation and safety skilled Brian Kerbs, amongst many others, advise utilizing a passphrase made up of three or 4 random phrases for added safety. An extended passphrase composed of unconnected phrases may be troublesome to recollect, nevertheless, which is why it is best to think about using a password supervisor.

Don’t recycle your passwords

It’s value repeating that reusing passwords throughout completely different accounts is a horrible concept. If somebody uncovers your reused password for one account, they’ve the important thing to each different account you employ that password for. 

The identical goes for modifying a root password that modifications with the addition of a prefix or suffix. For instance, PasswordOne, PasswordTwo (these are each unhealthy for a number of causes).

By choosing a singular password for every account, hackers that crack into one account cannot use it to get entry to all the remainder. 

Avoid utilizing passwords identified to be stolen

Hackers can effortlessly use beforehand stolen or in any other case uncovered passwords in automated login makes an attempt known as credential stuffing to interrupt into an account. If you need to examine if a password you are contemplating utilizing has already been uncovered in a hack, go to Have I Been Pwned and enter the password.

No must periodically reset your password

For years, altering your passwords each 60 or 90 days was a long-accepted apply, as a result of, the thinking went, that was how lengthy it took to crack a password. 

But Microsoft now recommends that except you think your passwords have been uncovered, you needn’t periodically change them. The cause? Many of us, by being pressured to vary our passwords each few months, would fall into unhealthy habits of making easy-to-remember passwords or writing them on sticky notes and placing them on our screens.

Use two-factor authentication (2FA) … however attempt to keep away from textual content message codes

If thieves do steal your password, you may nonetheless preserve them from having access to your account with two-factor authentication (additionally known as two-step verification or 2FA), a safety safeguard that requires you enter a second piece of knowledge that solely you may have  (normally a one-time code) earlier than the app or service logs you in.


Google’s Authenticator app steps up your safety.

Jason Cipriani/CNET

This method, even when a hacker does uncover your passwords, with out your trusted machine (like your phone) and the verification code that confirms it is actually you, they will not be capable to entry your account.

While it is widespread and handy to obtain these codes in a textual content message to your mobile phone or in a name to your landline phone, it is easy sufficient for a hacker to steal your phone quantity by SIM swap fraud after which intercept your verification code. 

A a lot safer strategy to obtain verification codes is so that you can generate and fetch them your self utilizing an authentication app like Authy, Google Authenticator or Microsoft Authenticator. And when you’re arrange, you may select to register your machine or browser so that you needn’t preserve verifying it every time you check in.

When it involves password safety, being proactive is your finest safety. That consists of knowing if your email and passwords are on the dark web. And should you uncover your knowledge has been uncovered, we information you thru what to do if hackers have gained access to your banking and credit-card accounts.

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Tarun Banerjee

Professional Web Designer & Developer,Expert in SEO & Digital Market, Founder of Tech Hunt.

One thought on “Strong passwords: 9 rules to help you make and remember your login credentials

  • February 5, 2020 at 5:55 pm

    Excellent way of describing, and pleasant piece of writing to take facts concerning my presentation topic, which i am going to convey in university.


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