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December 6, 2018

How to create a hack-free password

Make your passwords hacker-proof with these tips for securing your online accounts.

Go Totally Random

“If you’re interested in picking a really strong password, the best thing you can do is pick it randomly,” says Joseph Bonneau, a cryptography and security expert in New York. “Roll dice, or there are some lists online of words you can randomly choose from. Generate something totally random that you have no influence over.” 

Long Passwords Are Best

Longer passwords are more secure, says Lorrie Faith Cranor, former chief technologist at the U.S. Federal Trade Commission. “Generally people should aim for a password at least 12 characters long.” Additionally, when mixing up numbers, letters and special characters, try to spread each out. Don’t bunch up letters at the beginning or end of the password.

Avoid Patterns

People are very predictable when creating passwords, says Cranor. “For example, if they are required to use a capital letter, most people put it first. If they are required to use a symbol they use an exclamation point and put it at the end.” When creating your password, avoid the obvious—like birthdays and names—but avoid keyboard sequences too. “People often include a row of letters from the keyboard, because they think it looks random,” says Cranor. “But actually, keyboard patterns, whether left, right or diagonal, are among the most easily guessed passwords.”

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