By: Trey Sikes
In my last blog post, I talked about the 25 most used passwords and how they are not strong enough to protect your sensitive information. Today, I want to give you a method for consistently creating—and remembering—a strong passphrase.
In most cases, the longer your password is, the harder it is for hackers to crack or steal. Today’s operating systems and applications often allow a password length over 100 characters. This allows you to use a passphrase rather than a password to access your account information. A passphrase is a sentence or phrase that is unique to you and generally consists of six or more words, both upper- and lower-case letters, numbers and special characters (like punctuation).
To create a strong passphrase, you will want to use some sort of fact about yourself or someone you know. For example, I may use the sentence, “My dad was born in 1933 @ 2 PM!” as my passphrase. Some applications won’t allow the blank spaces, so the passphrase can be written as, “Mydadwasbornin1933@2PM!” or “My_dad_was_born_in_1933_@_2_PM!” This can be easily shortened by using the first letter of each word, or using text or chat abbreviations, such as, “Mdwbi1933@2PM!” This creates a 14-character passphrase that is easy for me to remember—but difficult for a hacker to obtain.
You will often need—or even be forced to—change your passphrase for various reasons. You can come up with a new fact like, “My 1st dog was named Freckles!” or you can slightly alter your existing passphrase, such as, “My Dad was born in 1933 & is 83 years old!!” Both of these are new, lengthy and complex, but still easy to remember.
Keep in mind that your password is the key to protecting your personal information on the Internet. The stronger that password is, the more protection it provides. If you happen to have any of the 25 most common passwords of 2016 or a weak password, then consider changing to a passphrase today. Check back soon for my next blog post about password manager applications, and feel free to ask questions in the comment section below.
The content provided in this blog consists of the opinions and ideas of the author alone and should be used for informational purposes only. VyStar Credit Union disclaims any liability for decisions you make based on the information provided.