Stories are everywhere these day about peoples accounts being hacked and their details taken. The Playstation network seems to get hacked every couple of months or so – a recent serious one was when the network was offline for 4 days over Christmas due to a hack, read about it at http://www.theguardian.com/technology/2015/jan/02/sony-christmas-playstation-network-hack-discounts-psn-lizard-squad. With this in mind it’s hardly surprising that many of us would like to use stronger passwords on our own personal accounts, but the problem is how do you go about remembering a complex password without writing it down?
Using a complex password is proven to protect your data far more than if you were using an easy to crack password. When choosing a password for the first time, most people will choose names or a word, something like “network” or “emily”, but the hackers who are trying to steal your data and break through your password protection know this. It is estimated that there are over 1 million words in the English language (http://www.oxforddictionaries.com/words/how-many-words-are-there-in-the-english-language), this is a lot, but it’s easy to write or download an automated program that will try each and every one to obtain your password, and when it’s possible for a program to try in excess of 500 different words every second, you can do the maths and work out that it’ll take a maximum of 5 hours for your password to be cracked.
Passwords of course should never be written down, the whole point of a password is that it’s secret, buy many people who do use complex passwords resort to writing them down simply because they are hard to remember. But applying a little common sense and a few rules is the key to being able to build and remember a complex password that is difficult to hack. The best page I’ve seen with some good advice is on the data clinic site at http://www.dataclinic.co.uk/how-to-make-a-secure-password/, this uses a 3 step approach that allows you to easily create and simply remember a complex password.
A good password will be much more that just a word or phrase, it will be a combination or words where some of the letters are substituted for symbols or numbers. Using the technique described on the data clinic site, the password “Lord Of The Rings” could easily become something like “L0r6*ofthe$r1ng5″ or “7o4d0fthe51n65″, now you can see that a password like this is far more difficult to crack