How to create a strong password header image

Published: 22nd Jun 2016

If you’ve spent any amount of time online, then you’ll know that to get the most out of the internet, you’ll need to sign up for accounts with your favourite websites.

These are normally free, but can be a source of great frustration when it comes to passwords. You’re probably aware that you shouldn’t use the same password for multiple accounts, and that you should never write them down.

As this is the case, it can be hard to keep track of which words log you into which site, and many people end up choosing weak passwords to get around this, or end up getting locked out of their accounts. So here are some simple tricks you can use to make a password that is both memorable and secure:

An easy way to make a password strong yet easy to remember is to use acronyms. For example, “my first cat was called Snowy” can become “M1stcwcs”. This covers requirements for passwords that are eight characters or longer, those that need to include a number and/or upper and lower case letters.

Using information that is specific to you, but not so exact that it could be a security question for accessing your finances, is a good trick to make sure that you remember it. Hobbies, pets and favourite teachers are all popular choices.

Another way to come up with a password is to use numbers or symbols to replace letters in your chosen word. You can use $ or 5 for s, 3 for e and 0 for o, for instance. A related technique is to use common misspellings of words, such as “mi” instead of “my” - although you’ll need to be able to reliably tell the difference!

If you just want to add numbers to the end of word, then try to avoid using your date of birth, as this is easy for fraudsters to obtain via social media. Instead, use the last year your football team won the Premier League, or the birthday of your partner, as these are harder to guess.

To create different passwords for multiple accounts, you can use the same main word for all of them, but with an ascending or descending number sequence, meaning that you have less to worry about when it comes to remembering things.
Passwords can be confusing, but they are an essential part of keeping yourself safe online, so make sure to choose one that is hard to guess. With this protection, you’ll be able to use the internet with confidence.