How to create a secure Password

There is a lot of ways to create a secure password.  This is just my quick tips on how to do this for the average person.   This system has worked for me.  However be aware of security Questions –  make sure you ask ones that are not on your public profiles.  (Sarah Palin and many others were hacked from easy Password Reset Security Questions.)  It is important while running your business that you manage all your passwords and if you give them out to anyone, change them.  Using an App Spreadsheet to manage your logins will help if you ever need to change your passwords since you will know all your accounts.

cyber security threat

Password Account Levels

Multiple passwords are the issue. I have at least 30 things that are Password Protected online, and there is no way I’m going to remember 30 different passwords but if i loose one password then All my information can get accessed!!! So when choosing what password to use I have come up with three levels of passwords:

  • General– Any site that is free and not very important if someone get’s my username or password. Like Nytimes.com. I have to register to read the newspaper but that’s it! They don’t have any other information, and if someone, some how (discussed later) gets my password it’s okay. Not too much harm done, like someone stealing your wallet but you only had your friends business cards in it. The passwords in this category can be the same.
  • Personal – This is your email, blog accounts and anything you keep personal items. These passwords should be different then your “Free for all” passwords but within the category can be the same password. You wouldn’t use this on too many sites though.
  • Confidential – This is the mother load for your identity. Your online banking, personal information or anything that could directly damage you. Each one in this category should be different. There shouldn’t be too many but this can easily be done by a short prefix or suffix on a secure password.

So now your saying to yourself, how am I going to remember all those passwords. Stop. Were not there yet, because most passwords are too easy to remember that there also very easy for someone to find out with a simple program. So the above list divides the passwords into category levels, this next session is about creating a secure ROOT password. A root password is a simple base password that can be added to.

Root password

Let’s start with a name, I’ll pick a girl’s name. Elizabeth. That is a very weak password for three main reasons:

  1. It’s found in a dictionary. Primarily English dictionaries are used to get passwords, but other language dictionaries maybe used as well.
  2. No Numbers.
  3. No Special Characters like ! _ – ?
  4. It doesn’t have 12 or more characters

Now just adding numbers to the end or the characters to the end helps a lot, but isn’t always the best. So if you wanted to quickly make this a secure password then Elizabeth-1981 would be better. Now if Elizabeth was born or something else had happened in that year that is related to her then you would easily remember this password. But that wouldn’t be a root password. To make a root we have to make it solid. Now here is an easy way to do this by creating your own code.

  • You can replace letters that look like numbers: an E to a 3; an I or L to 1; a O to a 0. These are easy to remember as long as you always do those replacements.
  • Special characters with letters like ! with a L or I. A $ with an S. or a ? with a vowel.
  • You can also do sound or make up your own code. an A to 8. a 2 with a T.
  • Capital letters also help and you can capitalize all constants or vowels.

With the above in mind the following passwords would be a root password for Elizabeth:

  • 3l1zab3th
  • 3l?z?b3th
  • el?z?b3th
  • El?z8b3th (Strongest password has capitals, special characters and numbers)
  • El1z8b3th-99 (Stronger Password with Capital, special characters and numbers, plus it’s 12 characters)

Are these easy for you to remember? That is the important thing and you might want to just think about something that is strong with the above rules that you can easily use for your ROOT Password.

According to http://howsecureismypassword.net/ – it would take a computer 19 years to hack into the last password – El?z8b3th – and 15 Million Years for El1z8b3th-99

Level Password and Customized Secure Password

After you create a root password it’s time to put different passwords for different areas of your life.  Use the password levels that I explain above and use these different passwords.  Even if you just use two levels.  General level and Confidential level. You can use the El1z8b3th-99 password we created for this level and just add the intial of the website to the end.  For your Twitter account it would be El1z8b3th-99t and for Facebook El1z8b3th-99f.  This would make all your passwords easy to remember but hard for people to find them.

Now for your most secure passwords you have to have a separate core password for each one.  This “confidential accounts” needs to be super secure. Follow the formula above you could combine the name Steve with the word Computer and make it $T3v3c0mp4t3r – This is a long secure password.  You could add an initial to the end like we did above but since each should be separate core passwords that would be up to you.

The Final Push

As you can see it takes a little time to create a secure password but once it’s done the root can be used for a while and you can change prefix and suffix with letters or numbers for a while. I find four digit years easy to remember. The main importance is to find an easy to remember password with a secure backbone.

Other Methods

Passphrase – Another way is a passphrase. That is using a sentence or phrase as a password. So the phrase: I am a die hard jets fan would be iaadhjf which would be hard to crack, but with these phrases it’s usually hard to add numbers and special characters unless you add a year iaadhjf-89 or a favorite players numbers. This way maybe easier for your to create a password and can be used with the Password Account Levels that I stated above.

Problems with these passwords

One major issue with these passwords is that some sites do not allow some special characters. You might want one of your roots to not have a special character and you add it on with a – when needed.

What’s Next on a secure password ?

Comment below for any questions on password creation.  Look out for my security product that goes more into detail on creating and managing passwords.  Also take a look at the security section here to help protect you and your business from cyber threats.

About Terry Culkin

Terry Culkin is an Internet Business Tech Coach that helps business owners to be more Tech Savvy. That is, use today's technologies smarter. Combining Tech know-how with Internet Marketing and Leadership basics he helps biz owners compete in a Tech driven economy.

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  3. […] secure password is the first step to prevent cyber security threats. You can read more about creating a secure password.  My Simple Security product will be out soon, you can subscribe here to be notified when it is […]

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