Stay safe online: picking the perfect password
As part of our Stay safe online series, this week we’re looking at how to make strong passwords.
Where possible, we should always use passwords when using website and email accounts, computers and mobile devices.
The best way to protect your identity and keep your information secure from fraudsters or hackers is to choose a really strong password.
Why weak passwords are a bad idea
People can easily work out what your password is if it’s weak, so they could pretend to be you and commit fraud or other crimes like accessing your bank account, buying thing with your money and more.
The dos and don’ts of making passwords
- Use your name, your username or your business name
- Use names of family members or pets
- Use birthdays
- Use the word ‘password’
- Use number sequences like 1 2 3 4 5, 2 4 6 8 10, or 1 1 1 1
- Use common single words that you’d find in a dictionary
- Rely on obvious replacements like H0use, switching o for 0, or HE4RT, switching A for 4
- Write all your passwords down on a piece of paper, which could easily get into someone else's hands
- Make up a new password from a word that doesn’t already exist.
- Use a mixture of upper-case and lower-case letters, numbers and symbols.
- Help people you know to create strong passwords if they’re not used to doing things online.
- There are a lot of different techniques that you can use to create a strong password, but here’s a technique that you could try.
- Think of a memorable phrase or a line of lyrics such as ‘Always look on the bright side of life’
- Next, think of a memorable number with no personal link to you, such as the year 2000. Start with the first two numbers - 20 - and add the first letter from each of the words, in a mix of upper and lower case, which would look like this: 20AlOtBsOl
- Then add a symbol to make 20AlOtBsOl!
- Finally, add the last two numbers - 00 - and you’ve got yourself a new, strong password: 20AlOtBsOl!00
For more information on how to keep yourself safe on the Internet, visit Get Safe Online’s website, who are the UK’s leading awareness resource helping to protect people from issues faced online.
Remember to keep your eyes peeled for the rest of our Stay safe online series. And if you missed the first post, you can see it here.