What the Tech? Creating safe passwords

(ABC 6 News) – Passwords are the bane of our existence on the internet. It’s also the easiest way for hackers to gain access to accounts. We’re supposed to make them impossible for someone to guess.

Here’s what the F.B.I. suggests:

  • 15 or more characters
  • No common words
  • A mixture of letters, numbers, upper and lower-case, and special characters
  • Do not use the same password for more than one account According to security firm Specops, the suggestion from the F.B.I. can be the difference between hackers gaining access to your accounts immediately or in a few trillion years. A 13-character numbers-only password can be cracked immediately while a 13-character mixture of numbers, letters, and upper and lower case, symbols will take 3 million years.

Anyone can set a password that fits the criteria. The problem is it’s impossible to remember strong passwords for all of your accounts.

Here’s an easy way to make difficult passwords for all of your accounts:

  • Think of two movies, songs, or books.
  • Take the first letter of each word.
  • Make the first set of letters all lower-case and the second set upper-case.
  • Add a special character such as %$&)# between the titles.
  • Add a number or two at the beginning or the end.

That’s a difficult password no one will guess but one you can probably remember after a few days. But we shouldn’t use the same one for every account because if a hacker steals the password in a data breach, they can access all of the accounts it is using.

So, add the first and second, or first and last letters of the accounts. You might add “F” at the beginning and “A” at the end for Facebook, “A” and “P” for Apple, “L” and “I” for LinkedIn, and so on. Once you set the long and memorable password, adding the letters will make it easy to remember the account.

A 16-character password with a mixture of upper- and lower-case letters, symbols, and numbers will take hackers 3 trillion years to hack.