A good "complex" password contains alphabetical characters, numerals, and symbols, but does that mean Password1234! is a secure option? The problem is that the majority of users follow the exact same pattern. If a capital letter is required, it's at the beginning. If numbers are required, they are after the word. If a symbol is required, it is after the numbers. Your password may not be Password1234! but if you follow likely patterns, it might as well be.
Exchange some of the letters in words for symbols and numbers.
Most passwords incorporate names and hobbies. Some of the most common include spouse's name, pet's name, childhood nickname, favorite sport, favorite song, or favorite color. In addition, most passwords only contain one word. If numbers are required, it's usually the account holder's birthday, anniversary, the last four digits of their social security number, or the year the account was created. The most commonly used symbols are exclamation points and stars.
So, make up a fun word, combine two or three words, and steer clear of numerical combinations that could be guessed.
Some people say length is actually the most important aspect of a strong password. When combined with a random order and difficult-to-guess content, length can give you the ultimate security. Experts suggest 12 to 14 characters, but the longer the better!
Having trouble thinking of a longer password? Add some spaces; they count as special characters.
It matters on every account.
Just when you think you've optimized your security and created the unbreakable password, it's time to create a few more! That's right… If your passwords are the same or similar on every platform you use, you increase your chances of getting hacked immensely.
You may not be as careful who is around when you type in your iPhone's passcode as you are when you enter your debit card PIN, but it won't matter if they're the same… Unfortunately, a lot of you are saying "Oh crap!" right now, because they are the same. Any logins that hold sensitive information need individual unique passwords, and any social accounts need a password unique from banking, employment, etc.
It matters every 90 days.
Most places of employment require you to change your computer or system password every 90 days. Changing them more often than that is not a bad idea, but you should certainly adopt this practice for your personal accounts as well. It is always a bad idea to share your passwords, and it is an even worse idea to assume that no one knows your password just because you haven't given it to them.
Do you forget the dangers of sharing your passwords? Make your password something just silly or embarrassing enough that you would feel uncomfortable sharing it.
Remember, it's much less shameful to evoke the almighty "I forgot my password" button every now and then than to leave the back door open for hackers.