Passwords. We need them for almost everything nowadays. Entering our phones, our computers, social media, and almost any website that involves a credit card purchase or includes personal details. Every time we start a new account on a password-protected site or system, we’re prompted to create a password.

We’re usually urged to make it a strong one, sometimes even forced to make it (#$uPeR*) complicated, but oftentimes we’re always thinking one of two things: 1. I will use the one I always use, or 2. I will use a brand new one I have never used before.

Guess what? Both are big no-no’s.

So, what is the best way to create a good password?

Here are the do’s and don’ts of creating new passwords:

Do:

  1. Always use a combination of upper case letters, lower case letters, numbers, and special characters (@#$%^)
  1. Use something that you will remember, is meaningless and doesn’t show any personal info about you, and hard to guess, whether the person trying to guess it knows you or not.
  1. Make sure to not use the same password for everything, in case a breach happens and your password is exposed, hackers may use it to hack your other accounts as well.
  1. Use a password manager. Here is one recommended by us.

Don’t:

  1. Avoid using birthdays and easy to predict numbers.
  1. Avoid using pet names, favorite movies, nicknames, or anything that tells someone something about you.
  1. Your favorite college football team may have a sentimental value to you. However, with one look at your Facebook feed, a hacker collecting information about you will have no problem assuming that this is your password.
  1. Never choose something that’s easy to guess. Love123 has a nice ring to it, but it’s also a very common word that’s very easy for hackers to guess.
  1. Avoid using patterns. QWERT or 12345 are sure easy to type when you’re in a rush and want to move on quickly with inserting your password. But did you know that hackers use these when trying to guess your password before anything else? Don’t be so predictable.
  1. Don’t make up new passwords if you’re not going to remember them. I know, this sounds counter-intuitive, but if you create a new password every single time and don’t write down in a safe place what it is, you’re running the risk of forgetting them. Hence, accessing your accounts will become difficult and you will get in the habit of forgetting your passwords.

Important factors to consider:

Sadly, even with the most complicated password to crack, there are many ways hackers can get their hands on your passwords.

A popular one is phishing. Hackers will build a fake replica of a webpage you tend to visit and send you a fake email urging you to check something out in your account (such as a large fee you haven’t made). Once you enter the fake site from the email, you will be prompted to enter your username and password. Once you do that, you’re basically giving away that information to the hackers behind the site, and they can use it anyway they want.

Another one is keylogging. Sophisticated hackers are now able to track your password insertion by logging your keystrokes on your keyboard using special software. Scary, right?

All-round solution:

Luckily, a solution exists to protect your password from getting stolen in both instances discussed above. ZoneAlarm Extreme Security protects you from getting your password stolen with its ‘Zero-Phishing Protection’ and Anti-Keylogger features.

When trying to protect your password, saving yourself the headache of falling victim to sneaky hackers will give you better sleep at night. Applying the tips for choosing a good password discussed here and exercising care by getting a security software  in place is the best way to go.

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