Use Strong Passwords

Aug 9, 2018

Take Your Passwords to the Gym

The MOST common way that hackers get your data is by guessing or stealing passwords. Password cracking software has gotten much better. A password that used to take weeks to crack using software, now takes minutes. Cyber Smart Panthers take their password to the gym… and make them strong passwords!

What Makes a Password Strong?

First of all, make a LONG password (at least 12 characters). The longer the password, the more variables of letters, numbers, and symbols that would need to be guessed. We recommend you use an easy-to-remember sentence or phrase (e.g. theR8nIn$pain). Second, add complexity to the password with capital letters, numbers, and symbols. Use a $ for the s, capitalize some of the letters, etc. Third, DON’T EVER use personal information that can be found out about you. Don’t use your birthday, birth city, family names, etc. This can easily be found out about you (especially with social media).

So, here is a summary of what makes a password strong:

  1. The LONGER the better (at least 12 characters). Try a phrase or sentence.
  2. Make if COMPLEX (combination of letters, numbers, and symbols)
  3. Keep it IMPERSONAL (not based on personal information that can be discovered online)


–Mark Haggan

“Who Do I Trust? Me That’s Who”

There’s no use in having a strong password if it is shared with other people or written down next to your computer. Guard your password. If you need to write it down, keep it somewhere safe. And never share it. If you do… change it quickly afterwards.

Use Two-Factor Authentication

Even if a cyber criminal can hack your account from another country, they can’t steal your phone from there. Two–factor authentication sends a text or email to your phone when it needs to confirm your identity. This means a much more secure way to use your apps and your phone. Choose to use two-factor authentication where possible (Google, Facebook, etc)

Why Shouldn’t I Share Passwords Between Websites?

Unfortunately, many websites have been hacked that provided cyber criminals un-encrypted access to User IDs and Passwords (Yahoo, LinkedIn, etc). Cyber criminals then tried those passwords on social media accounts and other websites. This even happened to Mark Zuckerberg! Use a simple formula to slightly change your password across websites and apps. Or, use a password manager and don’t worry about it!

If You Need Top Security… Use a Password Manager

Okay, we admit this is not for everyone. However, if you REALLY want to build very strong, unique passwords and save them securely so you don’t need to remember them, use a Password Manager. Here’s a Review of Top Password Managers by PC Magazine.

Want to learn more about strong passwords, check out this 10 minute video!