Strong passwords: 9 rules to make, remember and manage your login credentials

Strong passwords will help hold your knowledge locked down

James Martin/CNET

How many passwords are you able to truly keep in mind? You may simply have 85 passwords for all your accounts, from banking to streaming to social media, in accordance with LogMeIn, which makes the LastPass password supervisor. The problem is to create sturdy passwords you possibly can truly keep in mind, with out stumbling into the dangerous habits that may hurt you — like reusing the identical password for a number of accounts.

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

Password safety could not utterly stop your knowledge from being uncovered, however these greatest practices will help reduce your danger whether it is. Here’s the best way to create and handle the very best passwords, the best way 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 monitor of your passwords

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

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


A very good password supervisor will help you retain monitor of your login information.

The tiny caveat is that you will nonetheless must memorize a single grasp password that unlocks all of your different passwords. So make that one as sturdy 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 an alternative. 

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 would 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 possibly can write your login credentials down. Really

We know: This suggestion goes in opposition to all the pieces we have been instructed 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 maintaining your login data on a bodily sheet of paper or in a pocket book is a viable approach to monitor 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 features entry to your computer or on-line accounts, they’ll additionally acquire entry to that digital password file.


Keeping passwords on a sheet of paper or in a pocket book may work greatest for some folks.

Graphic by Pixabay/Illustration by CNET

Of course, somebody may additionally break into your own home and stroll off with the passkeys to your complete life, however that appears much less seemingly. At work or at dwelling, we advocate maintaining this sheet of paper in a protected 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 typically, bodily carrying your passwords with you introduces better danger if you happen to 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 an information breach or a malicious hack. But you possibly can test at any time for hints that your accounts could be compromised.

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

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Avoid frequent phrases and character combos in your password

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

Also keep away from utilizing your title, nickname, the title of your pet, your birthday or anniversary, your avenue title or something related to you that somebody may 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 incredible 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 tough 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 totally 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 utilize that password for. 

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

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

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 referred to as credential stuffing to interrupt into an account. If you need to test 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 observe, as a result of, the thinking went, that was how lengthy it took to crack a password. 

But Microsoft now recommends that except you watched your passwords have been uncovered, you need not periodically change them. The motive? Many of us, by being compelled to vary our passwords each few months, would fall into dangerous 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 possibly can nonetheless hold them from getting access to your account with two-factor authentication (additionally referred to as two-step verification or 2FA), a safety safeguard that requires you enter a second piece of data that solely you’ve  (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 manner, 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 frequent 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 approach 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 possibly can select to register your machine or browser so that you need not hold verifying it every time you check in.

When it involves password safety, being proactive is your greatest safety. That consists of knowing if your email and passwords are on the dark web. And if you happen to 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 make, remember and manage your login credentials

  • February 1, 2020 at 7:25 am

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