These days, the importance of securing your digital life cannot be understated.
Your countless accounts and profiles contain sensitive and valuable information that you need to keep private.
As a result, building a strong and unique password is essential in keeping hackers and cybercriminals at bay.
In this article, we will discuss how to create a strong password that can’t be hacked or cracked in 2024.
The Importance of Strong Passwords
Protecting Your Accounts and Personal Data
A robust password is your first line of defense against cyber criminals that attempt to gain unauthorized access to your online accounts.
It’s essential to prioritize password security and make sure that your passwords are tough to crack.
Preventing Data Breaches and Hacks
Good password hygiene also helps in preventing data breaches and hacks.
Cyber attackers can use multiple methods like brute force attacks or dictionary attacks to guess your password.
By creating a complex and unpredictable password, you make it significantly more difficult for these attackers to be successful.
How to Create a Strong Password That Can’t Be Hacked or Cracked
When creating a strong password, start by ensuring it is at least 12 characters long.
Longer passwords of 14 characters or more are even better, as they provide more security against hackers.
Individuals to guess or crack your password.
Mixing Uppercase Letters, Lowercase Letters, Numbers, and Symbols
To make your password as strong as possible, use a mix of various character types to make it more complex:
- Uppercase letters (A, B, C)
- Lowercase letters (a, b, c)
- Numbers (1, 2, 3)
- Symbols (&, %, $)
Using a blend of these character types makes it harder for others to crack your password using common approaches like brute force or dictionary attacks.
Avoiding Personal Information and Dictionary Words
Avoid using personal information or dictionary words in your password.
Personal information, such as your name or birthdate, is easily accessible to attackers.
Dictionary words can be quickly searched by hacker tools like dictionary attacks to crack your password.
Instead, consider utilizing random combinations of characters or creating a unique passphrase from unrelated words.
Here’s an example of how to create a complex password:
- Pick a base passphrase, such as “jellyfish world.”
- Replace some characters with symbols or numbers (j3llyfi$h w0r!d).
- Mix in uppercase and lowercase letters (J3llyFi$h W0r!d).
Creating Memorable Passwords
Passphrases and Their Advantages
A great way to create a strong, yet memorable password is by using a passphrase.
Passphrases are typically longer than traditional passwords, often consisting of multiple words strung together.
They offer several advantages:
- Length: Passphrases are generally longer than single words, which makes them more difficult for hackers to crack.
- Complexity: When combining different words, you can easily include uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers, and symbols – this adds an extra layer of security.
- Memorability: Because they consist of multiple words, passphrases are often easier to remember than random strings of characters.
To create a passphrase, choose at least four random words that mean something to you.
For example, “PancakeGiraffeBicycleRocket” is a strong passphrase that may be easier to remember than a seemingly random string of characters.
Using Memorable Keyboard Paths
Another technique for creating a memorable password is to use a pattern on your keyboard.
This method involves selecting a starting point on your keyboard and creating a password by following a specific path or shape. Some examples of keyboard paths include:
- Zigzag patterns (e.g., “1qaz2wsx”)
- Diagonal lines (e.g., “zxcvgbhn”)
- Letters or numbers in a row (e.g., “qwertyui”)
When using this method, it’s essential to add complexity to make it more secure. You can do this by:
- Mixing uppercase and lowercase letters.
- Including numbers and symbols.
- Making the path less predictable.
The goal is to create a strong password that’s also easy for you to recall.
By using passphrases or memorable keyboard paths, you can strike the right balance between security and memorability.
Password Managers and Their Benefits
NordPass and Other Popular Tools
As the online world becomes more complex, so does the need for better password security.
Password managers provide benefits such as generating random, strong passwords for all your accounts and securely storing them.
NordPass, for instance, is a reliable password manager that safeguards your credentials in a secure virtual vault.
With NordPass, you can effortlessly generate new, random passwords for different sites, ensuring that your accounts are protected from hackers.
Similarly, RoboForm is another popular password manager that helps you create and manage strong, unique passwords for different accounts.
With RoboForm, you can auto-fill your login details, making the process of accessing your accounts both quick and secure.
Some key benefits of using password managers like NordPass and RoboForm include:
- Generating random, strong passwords: With built-in password generators, these tools create unique, complex passwords to ensure maximum security for your accounts.
- Secure storage: Your passwords are safely stored in an encrypted vault, protecting them from unauthorized access.
- Autofill and auto-login capabilities: Password managers can automatically fill in your login details, making it faster and more convenient for you to access your online accounts.
- Master password protection: You only need to remember one master password to access all your stored credentials, reducing the risk of forgetting individual passwords.
- Multi-device syncing: Your passwords can be synced across multiple devices, allowing you to access your accounts from various platforms securely.
Common Password Threats
Dictionary Attacks and Brute Force Attacks
Hackers often use dictionary attacks to crack your passwords.
They attempt to guess your password by systematically trying words from a pre-compiled list or dictionary of common words and phrases.
To protect yourself from such attacks, avoid using common words as your password.
Instead, create complex passwords with a combination of uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers, and symbols.
Brute force attacks involve hackers attempting to guess your password by trying out every possible combination of characters.
This attack method can be time-consuming but may eventually crack your password if it’s not strong enough.
To defend against brute force attacks, use at least 12 characters in your password, but remember that a 14-character password or longer is much stronger.
Phishing Attacks and Social Engineering
Phishing attacks often entice you to reveal your password through seemingly legitimate emails or messages posing as trusted entities, such as banks or online services.
Cybercriminals create fake websites and forms that closely resemble the original, prompting you to enter your login information, which they can then access.
Be cautious of unsolicited emails and messages asking you to click on a link or provide sensitive information.
Before entering your password, double-check the authenticity of the website or sender to prevent your account from being hacked.
Social engineering is another tactic used by cybercriminals to gain access to your accounts.
They manipulate and deceive you into revealing personal information, such as your password or security question answers.
To avoid falling victim to social engineering, be cautious when sharing any personal or sensitive information.
Verify the identity of anyone asking for such details and never provide your password to anyone over the phone or via email.
Developing Unique Passwords for Each Account
Handling Multiple Passwords for Different Websites and Applications
One of the most important ways to protect your personal information online is by creating strong and unique passwords for each of your accounts.
To avoid security issues that can be caused by reusing passwords, it’s essential to create a different password for every account you use.
When each account has a unique password, even if one is compromised, your other accounts will not be at risk.
Let’s explore some methods to help you create strong, unique passwords for each of your accounts.
Use a passphrase: Start by stringing together a series of words that might not be related to each other. This forms a passphrase that’s easier for you to remember but difficult for others to guess. For example, PurpleGiraffeWinterCoffee is a strong, unique passphrase.
Apply a pattern: To personalize the passphrase, you can create a pattern that you’ll use for all your passwords, such as including the first and last letters of the service for which you’re creating the password (e.g., Facebook = Fk). This can make your passphrase even stronger: FkPurpleGiraffeWinterCoffeeFk.
Modify with special characters and numbers: Replace some characters in your passphrase with numbers, symbols, or special characters for added security. For instance: FkP!rp!eG!r@ffeW!nt3rC0ff3eFk.
Utilize a password manager: Password managers such as NordPass can help generate secure, unique passwords for each of your accounts. These tools employ encryption and password synchronization to handle multiple passwords efficiently and securely.
What to Do When Your Password Is Compromised
Changing Passwords and Security Questions
When you discover that one of your passwords has been compromised, act quickly by changing your password and security questions for the affected account.
Make sure to create a strong, unique password that includes at least 12 characters, a mix of uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers, and symbols to minimize the risk of a dictionary attack.
Also, don’t forget to update your passwords for other accounts, especially if you have been reusing the same password across multiple sites like Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter.
Next, update your security questions if the compromised account allows for it.
Select questions that are not easily guessable and have answers that can’t be easily found through your online presence or social media profiles.
Monitoring for Further Suspicious Activity
After you have updated your password and security questions, keep an eye on your affected account for any further suspicious activity.
Enable two-factor authentication whenever possible to add an extra layer of protection.
In addition, it’s a good idea to monitor your other online accounts and financial statements to ensure there is no unusual activity.
If you suspect another account has been compromised, follow the same steps mentioned above.
Here are a few steps to help safeguard your information and accounts from possible data breaches:
- Regularly review your accounts for suspicious activities, like unexpected logins or unfamiliar devices.
- Be cautious of phishing attempts through emails or messages that try to trick you into revealing your login credentials or personal information.
- If available, utilize account alerts to notify you of suspicious activities or password change requests.
In case of a widespread data breach, stay informed by following updates from the affected company, and consider the possibility that your information could be on the dark web.
Various data breaches have resulted in millions of user accounts and passwords being put up for sale on the dark web, allowing hackers easy access to the information.
Regularly check specialized websites or tools to verify if your data has been leaked.
By taking these proactive steps, you can significantly reduce the impact of a compromised password and ensure the ongoing security of your accounts.
Tips and Tricks for Password Maintenance
In this section, we will discuss valuable tips and tricks for maintaining strong and secure passwords that are difficult to hack.
We’ll cover two important sub-sections: Using Password Generators and Regularly Updating Your Passwords.
Using Password Generators
Password generators are essential tools in creating unique and secure passwords.
These tools are designed to generate random combinations of characters, numbers, and symbols, which make your password more robust against hacks.
There are various password generators available online and as browser extensions, such as password generators for Google Chrome.
To create a strong password using a password generator tool such as NordPass, follow these simple steps:
- Navigate to a password generator website or download a browser extension. We recommend NordPass.
- Adjust the settings to include the desired character types (uppercase letters, lowercase letters, numbers, and symbols).
- Set the password length to a minimum of 12 characters.
- Generate the password and store it in a secure password manager.
Regularly Updating Your Passwords
One of the crucial steps in password maintenance is updating your passwords regularly.
Here are a few recommendations for updating your passwords:
- Change your passwords every 3-6 months.
- Do not reuse old passwords.
- Avoid using similar password patterns across different accounts.
- Prioritize updating your most sensitive accounts, such as email and banking services.
To conclude, maintaining strong passwords involves using password generators and regularly updating your passwords.
By following these tips and tricks, you can effectively enhance the security of your online accounts, protecting yourself from potential hacks and unauthorized access.