We all hate it. A message pops up on your computer stating that it’s time to change your password. As you try to come up with a unique password for what feels like the tenth time this year, you think to yourself, “how am I supposed to remember all these password changes and what good does it even do?” Though it may annoy us from time to time, a strong password and frequent changes can ensure the safety of data and prevent unwanted access to our lives, whether personal or business.
According to SplashData, a supplier of security applications, “123456” and “password” were still the most commonly used passwords in 2015. Here are some tips to help you think outside the box when it’s time to change your password.
- The longer the password, the better. Try thinking of a phrase that is meaningful or funny that you will remember. General rule of thumb, passwords should be at least 8 characters long.
- Use a diversity of characters when creating a password. Swap the letter “e” for a 3 or an @ instead of the letter “a”. You can capitalize various letters as well as incorporate special characters including the exclamation and question mark. If you make a habit of this when creating passwords, it won’t be as difficult to remember in the future.
How can you bring these two ideas together and still remember your password? Here’s a simple way to think of it. Think of a sentence meaningful to you like, “I bought my first car for $800.” Using the first character of each word for your password would look like this, “Ibmfcf$800”. It uses lowercase and uppercase letters, numbers, and special characters. A simple way to memorize a complex password.
By Andrew Gill, CPA