5 tips to create a strong, secure password

Dropbox, Twitter, Yahoo, Gmail, Hotmail, Dailymotion, MySpace and Amazon have all been affected. Lynda.com (a subsidiary of LinkedIn), UK telcomms business Three and Germany's Deutsche Telekom have all experienced it in the last few weeks. Data breaches are in full force. It’s never been more important to take steps to prevent your personal data being compromised.  

As the world’s data has grown exponentially year on year, cybercriminals have thought up increasingly complex ways to get hold of your information, from simple password hacks and phishing scams to malware attacks. This means if you want to stay vigilant against all types of attack there a lot of things to consider (Stay Safe Online covers them all), but picking a good, strong password is a really important place to start!

A strong password should:

1. Contain a lot of characters – use the maximum length available!

2. Contain a mixture of upper and lower case letters, numbers and symbols. Make substitutions, such as $ for S

3. Not include keyboard patterns e.g. ‘Qwerty12345’

4. Not include something obvious or relevant to you, such as your name or first line of your address. Even better, make it a word not in the dictionary at all. Consider using an acronym from a phrase

5. Be unique to each site you log into. Using the same password to access multiple accounts means hackers could access all your accounts with a single password. If remembering them all sounds tricky, consider using a password manager such as LastPass.

Lastly, never share your passwords. A reputable company will never email or call you out of the blue asking you to change your password or confirm your security details. Take advantage of any additional levels of security available such as Two-Factor Authentication (2FA), which asks for authorisation via another trusted device, such as your mobile phone, when a login is attempted.

If you use a shared machine, CCleaner can come in handy as it quickly erases cookies (which store passwords). If you only use your own PC and want to clean it without deleting passwords, simply uncheck the ‘Cookies’ option under the browser you have been using.

We hope these tips help! If you have any comments please tweet us. We're @Piriform.

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