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Heather Oliver's picture
Author: 
Heather Oliver

Security is important. We always make sure our software is up to date and ask our hosts for their security credentials. 

But what is equally important is ensuring that our passwords are strong. The average online user has around 26 online passwords. If you use the same password on multiple sites and one password is compromised, your other logins are vulnerable too. Here are some hints and tips for managing your passwords and creating unique passwords that won't leave you vulnerable.

Password Length / Creating Memorable Secure Passwords

Online tests now show it's the password length that really matters when it comes to security. The reason for this is that there are just more characters to try and crack, which takes hackers more time. It will take them more time to work through the combinations on a 15 character password than a 5. You can test your passwords online to see how easy they are to crack.

You can probably also just develop your existing passwords a little more to make them secure. For example, say your current password is manchester because that's where you live. Capitalise the M and turn your e's to 3's. Your password has now gone from instantly crackable to about 6 years for desktop cracking software. Now make it more secure by adding a character, like a dash or full stop and a memorable number, like a year. Maybe you moved to Manchester in 2005, so use that. Your new password Manch3st3r-2005 would take 157 billion years to crack. That's pretty secure!

You can also take it one step further, to make them unique per website. Add a dot and the site you're one and you've now got an uncrackable unique password that you can remember!

Manch3st3r-2005.facebook

You can also use a site like http://correcthorsebatterystaple.net/ to get you started with words or phrases that you can remember and manipulate into a secure password.

Use a Password Manager

If you do have over 26 passwords, that's a lot to remember. Some sites, like your bank, most likely have restrictions in place on the length and characters you can use, which may not fall into the system you've devised. This is where using a password manager can help. 

Sites like Last Pass or Password Box will remember your passwords for you and allow you to instantly create secure passwords by choosing a long password. For those sites that force you to create a login for the one time you access it, this is really useful as it allows you to remember it easily and ensure it remains secure. 

Have a look at the options out there and find the one that's best for you.