There are certain applications and websites that you use on a regular basis. Do you cringe every time that application you are logging in to says, “Time to Change Your Password”?  Most people do. Trying to figure out a new password AND remember it is a challenge to almost everyone trying to practice better cybersecurity.

One thing you can do to help make your password more secure is to make it longer. Passwords that are only 4 or 5 characters long can be cracked by hackers in seconds. The strongest passwords are now 8 to 12 characters long and contain capital and lower case letters, numbers and characters. If the system you’re using allows it, upwards of 15 characters provides even better protection.

If you’re worried that a longer password will be harder to remember, there are ways to overcome that and make it memorable but not easily recognizable.

For example:   I<32b@t8Ec#  That’s 11 characters long, using all the components for a strong password. How is it memorable? If you look closely it says I love to be at the beach. Memorable, but not easily recognizable.

You can also use a phrase and turn it in to a password. Think of a phrase or song lyric that you can associate with the website. For example: Don’t stop believing.  If you do some substitutions and use underscores for the spaces, you can get D0n+_$tOp_b31i3viNg. That would definitely be more challenging for a hacker to crack. It’s a phrase you’ll remember and will likely remember the substitutions after a time or two.

Cyber criminals are getting smarter and their code breaking systems are starting to recognize some of the substitutions: @ for a or at, 3 for e.  Long passwords, though, are still your best protection.

It’s also extremely important to change your password on a regular basis and do not repeat a password on a given website or across accounts.