No password is 100% secure. But you can make one that is really hard to crack
With technological advances, almost everything that you use is susceptible to unauthorised usage which highlights the importance of having robust passwords and personal identification number (PIN) for everything, including network accounts, online services, websites, ATMs, credit cards and even the Wi-Fi connection. However, being human (and lazy), we find it difficult to create and remember robust passwords and end up compromising our security. Many people are reluctant even to create ‘difficult’ passwords. However, creating a good, robust and hard-to-crack password is not rocket science and can be done easily. To create a good, robust password, you must:
Choose a password that doesn’t contain a readable word.
Mix upper- and lower-case letters. Use a number or symbol in the middle of the word, not at the end. Don’t just use ‘1’ or ‘!’, and don’t use symbols as replacements for letters, such as ‘@’ for a lowercase ‘a’. It’s passé.
Simple, isn’t it? However, some may still find it difficult to create good passwords. So, here are some simple and useful tips to create robust passwords.
Start with an original, but memorable, phrase—for example, ‘Moneylife says know what’s coming’ or ‘My first Maruti was a real lemon so I bought a Toyota’. The phrase can be anything; but make sure it’s something you can remember easily without writing it down. The best phrase to use is one in your mother tongue. This will help you avoid using a guessable English dictionary word.
Now, convert the simple, memorable phrase into an acronym and use some numbers, symbols and upper-lower case letters. The above-mentioned phrases can be converted into ‘MLskwc’ or ‘[email protected]
’ and ‘M1stMwarlsIbaT!’.
Using the same method, you can also create site-specific passwords; for example, ‘It’s 45 degrees in May, so I use Gmail’ can become ‘i50dgiMsIuG’ (50 is not the real temperature; it’s for the month number multiplied by 10). Based on the phrase, you can change your password almost every month; for January, it becomes ‘i10dgiJsIuG’ and for September, it’s ‘i90dgiSsIuG’ and so on.
For general sites, which do not affect you personally or financially, use simple phrases to create passwords.
Reserve your strongest and most distinct passwords for critical services like your bank account, your computer and your personal e-mail.
Also, try to create a password that contains minimum eight characters. For finance-related things, make sure it is at least 13 characters long. Remember, longer passwords make stronger passwords. There are about 645 trillion combinations for eight character passwords. For nine and 10 characters, the combinations go to 45 quadrillion (a thousand trillion) and 3 quintillion (a billion, billion) combinations. This, in short, means that the cracker or hacker will have to spend much more time to crack your password.
For example, an eight character password like the one ‘abcd1234’ can be cracked instantly, while ‘Abcd123$’ takes around nine hours to crack. The password ‘Abcdefgh123456’ will take 10 million years to crack. Adding a simple wild character like ‘&’ in this password will take almost 16 billion years to crack, says HowSecureIsMyPassword.net. (Please refrain from entering your real password on this or any other irrelevant site) The PINs for ATM or debit and credit card can also be created using the method given above. However, since it contains just four numbers, you need to take the help of the keyboard of an old mobile which has numbers and letters (usually three-four) inscribed. Using this method, and the root phrase ‘Moneylife says know what’s coming’ you new PIN would be 6592 (using the digits corresponding to the first letter of each word—6 for ‘Moneylife’, 5 for ‘know’, 9 for ‘what’s’ and 2 for ‘coming’). Do not use your or the name of your family member, mobile number, date of birth, or PAN number, in the password. Go and find a memorable phrase, especially in your mother tongue, and create a robust password of 13 characters.