The best tricks for a secure password

Whether for retrieving e-mails, online banking or various websites and apps: Again and again I need a password in everyday life. But what should a secure password look like? And more importantly, how do I remember the sign salad?

The more online accounts and programs I have, the more passwords I need? Unfortunately. Because keeping them all is not easy? especially when they are still complicated. No wonder that the temptation is great to make it easy: I pick a password that I can remember well and then use it on all pages where one is required. Practically ? or maybe not?

Experts warn against making it that easy? because that also makes it easier for criminal hackers to capture my data. "Many users are unaware that criminals are making a lot of money trading stolen identities and what harm they can do," explains Christoph Meinel of the Hasso Plattner Institute (HPI). It is easy for criminal hackers to gain access to personal information and accounts through weak passwords

Do not use normal words

But what should a secure password look like? Quite clear: "hello", "password" or "qwerty" are still the absolute classic German passwords. But if I want to protect myself from data theft, such simple words are taboo. Because hackers have software that automatically tries out all sorts of character combinations or tests entire dictionaries, including common combinations of words and attached numbers.

Always change preset passwords

For many programs and apps are simple passwords preset? This also applies, for example, to my WLAN router. The classic is often "123456". Sometimes it is enough for the first start also, just press the empty password field "Enter" and I'm in it. If, in the eagerness of installing or logging in, I forget to change this default password, there is a threat of data theft. For hackers usually try first in an attack, if they forgot to provide these accounts with new passwords.

Therefore, I should always pay close attention to whether a program has a default default password. If in doubt, I can look it up in the manual. If that's the case, then I should change it and choose a secure password instead.

What does a secure password look like?

A good password is as long as possible, uses very different characters and makes no sense. The minimum length is eight characters, more is even better. The password must not be in a dictionary and should therefore not be a word at best. Even simple rows of numbers or keyboard patterns are too easy to crack. Taboo are also names of family members, the pet, the best friend, the favorite stars or their birth dates.

On the safe side I am, if my password consists of uppercase and lowercase letters and contains both special characters and numbers. But I should avoid simply garnishing a normal word with a few extra numbers and special characters in front and back? The hackers know this trick too. Better is a completely cryptic string, for example "mE4Ö + wbhH34".

It's easier with the sentence method

The big problem is: I can not remember such a cryptic password. But there are some tricks that make it easier for me. A classic is the sentence method: I think out one sentence and use of each word only the first letter or the last one. What is important is that I think out the sentence myself and not just take a literary quote? that, too, would make it easy for hackers again.

From the sentence: "In the morning I get up and brush my teeth for three minutes" becomes with this method the letter sequence "MsiaupmmZdMl". So I have ever the required uppercase and lowercase letters in it. To save the password, special characters and numbers are missing. I incorporate that, for example, by replacing some letters with similar-looking numbers. For example, "i" and "l" would become "1", if an "E" were included, I could make it a "3". For example, to get special characters, I can replace a "and" in the original sentence with a "&".

In the example above, I get the password "Ms1a & pmmZ3M1" through such changes. This is absolutely cryptic and hard to remember, but thanks to my sentence, I now have a donkey bridge for it? which only I know.

How can I save the passwords?

Sure: I can not remember a cryptic combination of arbitrary characters and numbers. But what can I do so that I do not forget it and then lock myself out of e-mail program and Co? A classic way is to write passwords on paper and keep them in a safe place. But: Just do not put this note on or in the desk or even as a sticky note on the computer monitor!

It is still better to save the password encrypted on the computer or mobile phone. There are now many programs and apps that act as password managers. In this digital "safe" I can enter all the important passwords. I then lock the whole thing with a master password. Of course, this should then satisfy all safety requirements. The advantage: I just have to remember this master password and can look all the others.

Change passwords regularly

Even if they seem so unbreakable and safe: I should get used to changing all my passwords at regular intervals. Good is a turn of half a year or a year. Because that also makes it harder for hackers to hack my accounts.

How to Create a Strong Password | January 2022