How Strong is your Password ?

If you use a computer, much less log on to the Internet, you will have dealt with using passwords to keep your account secure. In today’s world, most people have an online presence. You use the Internet to log into your bank account, you have possibly created a Facebook and Twitter account. And if you are like me, you might even have registered with umpteen other websites. For all this to happen, there is a common criteria – that being you need to create a password for each account you create – to keep it safe from others.

Online security

But have you given a thought to the safety of your password ? If you are wondering how easy it will be to break a password, look no further than this article.

Fortunately, if you follow a few rules, it is quite easy to create a hard to crack, strong password.

How to make your password strong

For your password to be strong, it should be a string consisting of upper and lower case characters, white spaces, numbers and special characters.

An example of strong password is – ‘Hter 12T my@’ . It contains upper case and lower case characters, numbers, white spaces, and a special character (@). This makes it a strong one which will take at least a few hundred years to crack with today’s computing power.

If the website or application does not accept white spaces in your password(s), you can replace white space with an underscore ‘_’.

Use multiple passwords

Do not use the same password for all your user accounts. For example, you can use one password for logging into your bank website, a different password for your Facebook account, yet another password for your Twitter account and so on.

Now the question is how do you remember so many complex passwords ? You record it some place safe. Not a notebook or a paper though. There are special software called password managers that allow you to store all your usernames and related passwords in one encrypted file. This means that you have to remember only one master password instead of several ones.

A password manager that is quite popular is the free, open source software KeePass.

KeePass is a versatile software available for multiple platforms including Windows, Linux, Mac OS X, iPhone, Windows Phone, Android, even your ubiquitous Java enabled feature phones. You can download KeePass from this page.

On the other hand, if you prefer an online service to store all your passwords in a secure manner, then you can take a look at LastPass. It is a Freemium service, meaning – most of the features are free but if you need mobile support for LastPass, you need to pay them a nominal amount. In my experience, LastPass is equally good.

Change your passwords regularly

Make it a habit to change your passwords on a regular basis – perhaps after a couple of months. Also take precautions like never logging into your accounts from a public place such as a cyber cafe.

If you follow these steps, you can stay secure 99% of the time and sleep easy. Of course, there is always the risk of websites getting hacked and all the passwords and usernames being stolen by miscreants. That of course is beyond our control.

So tell me, how strong is your password ?