Having a secure password for online accounts is a basic requirement for online security. While the components of a secure password are straightforward, creating a secure password that is easy to remember, can be difficult. It's the remembering that is the hardest part.
Generally, secure passwords contain most, if not all, of the following features:
- A minimum of 8 characters
- At least one uppercase letter
- At least one number
- At least one symbol (although some online accounts do not allow for this)
If you want to check your passwords for their strength, have a look at the Password Strength Checker on the Password Meter Website. Just type in your password and see how it scores.
One easy way to make your passwords more secure is to change one letter to an uppercase and substitute numbers or symbols for other letters in your current password. For example, you could use a zero for an o, a 1 for an l or i, a 5 for an s, or the @ symbol for an a. For example, password could be changed to P@55w0rd (which changes the score from 8% - Very Weak to 86% - Very Strong).
To be the most secure, we should have different passwords for each online account - but who could remember all those different passwords? It is possible to have your computer remember your password for you, through software management software or your browser. However, this will not be of help when using someone else's computer or a public access computer, such as a library computer.
The security experts at Mozilla (the company that created the Firefox web browser) have created an elegant way to create a secure password, have it be unique on each online website, but still be easily memorized. The method is to chose a phrase that you will remember. If applicable, change words to numbers. Reduce the phrase to just the first letters in each of the words and then add some symbols. To make each password unique, add the first letter and the next two consonants of the website to the end of the password.
For more details on this method, have a look at this video: