How strong is your password?

Online security is more important than ever, with hello, 123456, iloveyou and mypasswordispassword among the most used passwords, users are putting their personal accounts at serious risk.

We’re constantly told that the best passwords are lengthy and full of different letters, numbers and symbols, as well as being different for every account you have. But passwords like these can be tough to remember. We explain some solutions that will help you create a tougher password without putting your memory through its paces.

Treat your password like your toothbrush. Don’t let anybody else use it, and get a new one every six months.”

– Clifford Stoll

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Check out these tips and if you think think you can benefit from a password change, don’t wait too long.


  1. Follow the basic password rules
    Before you get started, there are some basic rules you may have heard before that you should consider following closely.What to do: Do not use obvious words like your name, your town or date of birth.

    Don’t pick a short password. Many companies (such as BT) require passwords to be a minimum of 8 characters

    Ensure that you use a variety of letters, numbers, symbols, spaces and capital letters.

    Avoid using the same password everywhere. If someone gets hold of your password for one account, they can then gain access to all your accounts.

  • Tip 2: Choose random words
    What to do:

    1: Pick three random words eg: Jar Tea Phone

    2: Choose a date that is easy to recall eg: 2009

    3: Put the words together eg: jarteaphone

    4: Split the date up and put it at the start and end eg: 20jarteaphone09

    5: Capitalize a letter in each word eg: 20JarTeaPhone09

    6: Add two special characters to the end eg: 20JarTeaPhone09!!

  • Tip 3: Using lots of numbers? Break them up
    If you want your password to use a large chuck of numbers, break them up a bit like a telephone number.

    The average person can only memorise about 7 units at a time, so breaking them up into smaller groups will make it easier for you to remember.

  • Tip 4: Create a password using poetry
    Scientists recently unveiled another new method to remember a complex password using poems.

    Marjan Ghazvininejad and Kevin Knight from the University of Southern California discovered that converting a 60-bit number into a sequence of words makes it much easier to remember, and to make it even simpler they’ve put the words into poems.

Tip: Don’t write your password on sticky notes and leave them near your computer.

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