What Makes For A Good Password?

Luke Gruden is a help desk technician for Tech Experts.

It seems like every week we need to make a new password for a new account. When making a password, there is usually some colored bar letting you know if your password is strong or weak.

It is very important that we maintain strong passwords for our accounts, so no one uses a password generator to guess the password and gain access to our private information.

What actually makes a good password? Length is one of the best methods to making a stronger password as it’s harder for a computer to hack a longer password. For the length, it’s recommended to have at least 12 characters.

If your password consists of basic words, it’s recommend the password be even longer as a lot of password crackers out there auto-search dictionary words.

You can even make a sentence or sentences. There is no rule against something like this: “Hello! I am Luke with Tech Experts and I work on computers!” That was about 60 characters and would take significantly longer to crack than a simple 12 character password.

The next best factor to making a good password is complexity. Complexity is when a password uses special characters, numbers, random capitals, and contains few or no dictionary words. The more complex a password is, the far harder it is for a computer to crack the password. “s5df1K51lj!@# ^k5$#1#!!2 @” would be a really good password, but good luck remembering it. Too complex and it’s hard to remember, too short and it’s easy to crack.

However, using length and complexity, we can make a strong password that we can remember.

Adding a number and special character to each word you use will drastically increase the strength of the password without making it too complex “Hello$1 my$2 name$3 is$4 Luke!$5” is most likely a stronger password than the one I used earlier that contained 60 characters simply because the special characters aren’t in the dictionary.

Another important note about passwords is that you should keep every password different for each profile. It can be tempting to use the same password for every account online, but at least try to make variations of your passwords.

The main reason why is that if a website is leaked or hacked, your password can be out there in the public and can be attempted on your other accounts, so even if you have the best password in the world, using the same password for every account can make your accounts vulnerable.

The last good practice for passwords is to change your password every 6 months or so, so even if your password was leaked without your knowledge, changing the password would end the issue. Also, some computers will try to crack a password 24/7 and, with enough time, it will eventually guess the right password. Changing your password every so often will thwart those computers that endlessly guess at your password.

Another way to ensure you have different strong passwords is to use a password manager. A password manager is a type of program that stores your different passwords for different accounts, but that itself still needs a good password to protect your collection. With a password manager, you can use a generator to create very long complex passwords and not have to worry about remembering them as long as you have accesses to your manager.

If you need any help with passwords or with setting up a password manager, you can count on your Tech Experts to help you on your way. Contact us with any questions at (734) 457-5000.