How can I make a stronger password?

Password Selection

A good password is easy to remember, but hard to guess.

What Makes a Good Password?

Length

A longer password is harder to guess - make your password as long as possible to help keep your information safe.

Complexity

Adding numbers, symbols and mixed-case letters makes it harder for would-be snoops or others to guess or crack your password.

The best password will contain the following:
At least two Capital letters
At least one lower-case letter
At least one number
At least two symbols (optional because we will add symbols as padding)
Padding characters

Writing down your password is a common security risk but might be necessary (especially for infrequently-visited sites) - if you do write down passwords, do not leave them in plain sight! (A notebook in a locked drawer might be a good palce for these.)

Memorability

Coming up with and then remembering such a password can be difficult - one good method is to start from a phrase you will remember (preferably one unique to you) and modify it to make it as secure as possible:

"Our wedding song was "I Will Always Love You" by Whitney Houston."

The first letters of this phrase would be:

Owsw"IWALY"bWH

If you substitute a zero for the capital "O" and a numeral one for the capital "I" you get:

0wsw"1WALY"bWH

You thus already have numerals, special characters and upper and lower case letters - you can add padding (say an exclamation mark at each end) and arrive at an even tougher password to crack.

Great! Now you have a password that is easy to remember, but hard to guess.

It is acceptable to make a few different passwords and reuse them for different sites and devices. Just be sure that you don't reuse your most important passwords.

Note: For more security, try using a combination of 3 or more less-obvious words, and then substitute a few numbers and symbols. The longer the password, the harder it is to guess.

Here are some bad passwords you should NEVER use:

  • password
  • secret
  • money
  • love
  • 123456
  • qwerty
  • numbers representing your birthday
  • name of family, friend or pet
  • anything that can be found in the dictionary