Nowadays, we use passwords for practically everything – social media, banking, you name it. For this reason, it is more important than ever to create strong passwords, known by experts as “passphrases” to protect your identity and online accounts as best as possible.
A passphrase is a phrase you can memorized that consists of a sequence of mixed words, with or without spaces and usually exceeding 4 words and 15 characters in length. For example, you might create a passphrase by using what you can see in your kitchen, such as “refrigerator Ziploc flowerPainting dishrack” or “PapertowelBlenderRicecookerTinfoil.”
If you can not create a passphrase – such as when using a website that puts limitations on what you can use for a password – a password made up of uppercase and lowercase letters combined with numbers and special characters provides much greater protection than just a password comprised of only lower-case letters. For example, “ShoELacE21!” is exponentially more secure than “shoelace.”
If possible, use two-factor or multi-factor authentication to strengthen your passwords. Do things like set your smartphone to require your fingerprint before making purchases, or set it SMS codes to be sent to your phone before logging into things like online banking.
Doing everything you can to protect your passwords is also very, very important.
Keep the following tips in mind:
- Be aware of your surroundings when entering passwords, passphrases, PIN codes, and other private information in public
- Use different passwords for different devices and accounts
- Never give out your passwords to others, even family
- Always log or sign out of your accounts when you are done using them
- Do not use passwords that are easily guessed, including common expressions, song lyrics, movie titles, or personal information
- Consider using a secure password manager application, such as LastPass, to help generate and track your passwords