Wednesday, March 9, 2016

How to create a strong password ?



Passwords are indispensable today and making passwords strong is an absolute necessity. Sensitive data of various user accounts are at risk. Cyber crime is increasing like never before.


Though we cannot stop cyber crimes beyond a certain limit, we can surely protect ourselves from being victims of these cyber-attacks to a great extent. And, using a strong password for a user account is the very first step towards that.






When we create a user account, most of the time we go for a strong enough password which comes first in our mind at that time. But, keeping in mind the increasing incidences of cybercrimes and unethical hacking, if we give a little more effort to select our passwords, that would safeguard our accounts in a lot better way.


There are numerous ways of creating a strong password. In this article, I would explain just one such method. The purpose of this article is to give some idea on how to make your passwords stronger. Please do not use exactly the same method that is described in this article, as again, that would not be safe anymore !


Let's first start with what a good password should be like.


Some simple rules of a strong password


A strong password should follow some simple rules :

  1. A strong password should contain a mixture of all of the following - small letters, capital letters, numbers and special characters like !, @, #, $, %, &, * etc.
  2. Do not use any dictionary word in the password.
  3. Do not place small letters, capital letters, numbers and special characters in your passwords in predefined positions. Instead, place them randomly.
  4. Length of your password should be at least 8.


Is not it difficult to remember a good password ?


Initially it may seem to be difficult to remember such passwords. But, that would not be true if you follow some predefined secret algorithm to create a password.

Remembering an algorithm is much simpler than remembering a cryptic password. Your algorithm should take as input your faorite word ( a movie, a song or any other favorite word) or even a single number and give a strong password which is extremely hard to hack.

You may use same algorithm in creating more than one passwords, provided you are giving different words or numbers as inputs each time to that algorithm.


A simple algorithm for creating strong passwords


As I already said, there can be numerous algorithm to create a strong password. This article would describe just one such algorithm. Please make sure you do not use exactly the same algorithm to create your passwords, instead you may want to use this idea to come up with your own secret algorithm.



Step 1 :

Take a single digit from 0 to 9.

I would take the digit '1' in this example.


Step 2 :

Spell the digit in English.

O – N – E


Step 3 :

Replace O with 0 (zero).
Replace N with 9.
Replace E with 3.

You may want to use your own algorithm to replace letters with digits.


Step 4 :

Till now, we have got '0 9 3 '

Again, spell the digits in English.

ZERO – NINE – THREE


Step 5 :

Again,

Replace N with 9.
E with 3.
O with 0 (zero).
I with 1.
H with 8.

So, it becomes :

Z3r09193T8r33

Please note that, I have kept Z (of Zero) and T (of Three) in capital letter.


Step 6 :

We are yet to apply Rule# 1 of the rules mentioned above.

So, we need to add some special character in the final password.

Replace the first character in the password (or any character of your choice) with a special character.

Again, you may use your own algorithm to map special characters to letters or numbers. In this example, Z (the first letter in the last row of the keyboard) can be replaced by !.


Step 7 :

Now, the password has become :

!3r09193T8r33


How to mentally calculate this Password


The only thing you would need to remember in this algorithm is the mapping between letters and corresponding numbers.

For this example, you can easily mentally calculate this password with a few steps :


  1. Remember the single digit you chose. Here it is 1.
  2. Spell it. Here it would be O - N - E
  3. Take the first letter and convert it into a number - Here it will be 0 (Zero).
  4. Spell that number found in Step 3. Here it would be Z - E - R - O
  5. Replace the first letter with corresponding special character. Here, it is '!'
  6. Replace letters with corresponding numbers wherever applicable. 
  7. Now you have got '!3r0' Type it immediately.
  8. Go back to Step 3 and apply the same for second (N) and third (E) letter of O  - N - E


Please Note :


  • Do not share your password with anyone.
  • Do not write down or store your password in unsafe places.
  • Please keep your secret algorithm secret.
  • Change your password occassionally. Changing the input of your secret algorithm would do the trick.
  • Enable 2-Step Verification in possible user accounts.



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