File picture: Pexels
File picture: Pexels

How to create a secure password in 2020

By Staff reporter Time of article published Mar 31, 2020

Share this article:

Cape Town - Approximately 81% of breaches are caused by weak or re-used passwords, according to the Verizon Data Breach Report.

This is why it is widely urged to change your password and never reuse it for several accounts.

Over the years, there have been many 'password tricks', such as using a formula or mashing up memorable words. 

However, hackers are picking up on these methods and have invented a whole host of superfast tools to crack our (once secure) password codes. Your password that was secure one year ago is not necessarily secure in 2020.  

So how can you create a truly un-hackable password that you can actually remember in 2020?

Avoid easy to crack passwords

You’d be surprised at how many people use easy to crack passwords.  A common mistake is using personal information within passwords. For example, using your name, or family name within your password. 

When creating a password, the company, software, or website you’re using may make some suggestions for you. For example, including upper case and lower case letters, with a combination of numbers, punctuation and at least eight characters long. The reason for this is because they make it much harder for hackers to crack non-English passwords.

Cryptic familiarity

If you can generate a password that’s difficult to crack but simple to remember, the better for you. Something like “My Son is 5 years old next month” can be scrambled into MSi5yOnM. It might look confusing, but it’s a phrase you’ll easily remember and would be almost impossible for a hacker to crack. It’s all about combining upper case and lower case letters. 

Taking the above examples one step further, we can replace characters with symbols, numbers, and punctuation. 

Memorable dates

Avoid using birthdays or obvious dates that a cyber criminal could easily access and do not use any dates that you may have mentioned or posted about on these accounts.

Instead, think a little more outside the box. Remember a date when you went on your first holiday, first time on a place, first went ice skating, etc. This kind of information is much harder to guess, but should still be easy for you to remember.

Replace the slashes (/) with a different character such as a ‘v’ and the spaces between dates with an underscore (_). You can even add a special character to the end of the password to make it extra secure.

Keyboard patterns

Use keyboard patterns to generate and remember a password that is essentially meaningless and would be very difficult for a hacker to crack.

For instance, you can can use a pattern to create a memorable password such as: 1QAZ2wsx3EdX. For this, a combination of upper and lower case letters within the pattern was used. (Upper case for the first line, lower case for the second, and a mix for the third).

This method can be adapted to the device you’re using and try avoiding simple horizontal lines and introduce diagonals.

Change your password

It may seem like a bother to change your password regularly, but it will keep you secure. Many businesses will have built in software that requires you  to change your password every 30 days or so.

Remembering the passwords that you already have can be tough, and adding more on top can seem daunting. Changing it regularly then won’t seem like an impossible task.

Be vigilant about where you store your passwords

Never store your passwords in a place that can be easily accessed (or accessed at all). It’s tempting to write all your passwords down, or even save them under a contact in your phone. But in doing this, you’re opening your accounts up to be hacked.

Think about looking into a password manager or ways to encrypt files to ensure that you’re not opening yourself up to be a victim of cyber crime.

Lots of password managers, such as Dashlane, come with apps for multiple devices and platforms, as well as web browsers, making it easy to access passwords from all your devices in one easy to reach place.

Schneier scheme

Bruce Scheier is an American cryptographer and computer security professional who has created a popular password system.

Firstly you start out by creating a memorable sentence and then create a password with it. An example could be something like “Colin the caterpillar – cola gums yum” could be turned into “[email protected]”. This is a 13 digit password that is not made up of any words that could be hacked. 

The PAO Method

If you are not happy with keeping all of your passwords in one place, then perhaps The PAO Method is for you. The way this method works is by using a Person-Action-Object (PAO) story theme as a memorization technique with mnemonic methods to help you make a secure password that you might remember.

Bring to mind a memorable place (La Palma). Then pick an image of a famous person (The Queen). Then the final part is imagining a random action and object to bring the story together (The Queen jumping on a bouncy castle in La Palma).

PERSON:- The Queen (TQ)

ACTION: Jumping on a (jmp1ng)

OBJECT: Bouncy castle (@bc)

Location: La Palma ([email protected])

Our new 17-Digit secure password could be: [email protected]@Plma

When dealing with other people’s data we must be extra careful to keep data safe. However, even the regular internet user now needs to pay attention to how they manage their passwords to optimize their security.

* Visit Vpngeekz for more info on how to protect yourself online 

IOL TECH

Like us on Facebook for all the latest technology news. 

Share this article: