ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

How To Create The Best Passwords Hackers Hate

Updated on September 8, 2014

By Rachael O'Halloran

Published September 4, 2014

Are Your Passwords Secure?

Source

Passwords And Password Reminder Question

Your passwords are pretty much the only tool you have in how to access and protect your information on certain websites. How you choose your passwords makes a big difference, whether it is a Facebook site, a blog, a game or a banking site.

Never make it easy for a hacker. But never make it easy for yourself either.

If your password is easy for you to remember, it could be easy for a hacker to access.

I've said it before, I'll say it again. Do not use the same password for more than one site.

Above all, don't use your email password for anything else.

Each site you go to, your password should be different. I hope that is clear. Different site, use a different password.

Tips:

  1. Get a notebook at the Dollar Store and write all the info down - sign on email, screen name, password, security questions and answers. Include capitalization and special characters of the password
  2. DO NOT keep a Word file or an email with all your passwords and security answers on it. I'm not crazy about password vaults either. If there is a will to hack, there is a way to hack.
  3. Every time you change a password, make it a point to remember changing it in the notebook.

~~*~~*~~*~~*~~*~~*~~*~~*~~*~~*~~*~~*~~*~~*~~*~~*

When you choose a password, make it strong and make it long.

The best passwords are those which make no sense, are not a real person, place, thing, or an actual word.

Passwords should have some upper and lower case letters, as well as numbers, symbols and special characters. Passwords should not follow any set pattern or order.

Many sites want passwords with at least one capital letter or to start with a capital letter. Typically they allow 26 spaces for a password. You don't have to use all of them, but it is more secure to use them all.

Do not choose your pet's name, no matter how unique the little guy's name is. It is the easiest to hack. Hackers use lists of the most popular pet names (dogs, cats, birds, etc.) Here's a popular list of the Top 100 - see if your pet's name is on it: Dogtime

If you must use your pet's name because it is something you will never forget, then get creative with it. Say your dog's name is Bailey, which is the second most popular name on the Dogtime.com list.

Try doing this:

B9a1i2L_8e3Y7$

  • The first letter is capitalized as per the site rule, then with no rhyme or reason use a number every other letter, but go random, not in numerical order - mix them up. Add some symbols or underscores and your password is looking harder and harder to crack.
  • Throw in extra capital letters.
  • Now go write it down so you don't forget!

I am not a fan of websites offering a password generator where it spits out random words and letters. But it is good when it tells you the strength of each one.

If you can't think of a password after reading this article, then use a password generator. Here's one that is easy to use: www.safepasswd.com

~~*~~*~~*~~*~~*~~*~~*~~*~~*~~*~~*~~*~~*~~*~~*~~*

The Sentence Method

Another way to get the best password is to think of a sentence that you will remember, but is not so obvious that it can be guessed. Try to stay at 26 words, including years (each digit takes up one space). Here's an example:

The happiest day of my whole life was the day my son was born in 1985.

Now, type the first letter of each word to make a password like these examples with random capital letters, adding the year at the end.

  • Thdomwlwtdmswbi1985 - first effort - now try it with random capitalization
  • THdoMwLwTdMsWbI1985 - second effort - now add some symbols where the letters are.
  • T#doMw&wTdM$WbI198$ -now write it down!

Let's try another one.

My daughter is having a baby on September 30 and I'm so excited.

Take the first letter of each word again to make a password like this one with random capital letters and symbols.

  • MdI#AbO$30_AI$E - all I did here was capitalize every other letter, add dollar signs for each "S" and a number sign for the H. I put an underscore before the word "and" You can put in more, but the underscore in this instance stands in for the word "and."

Make up any sentence, poem, song or phrase you wish, just as long as it's not Happy Birthday To You. (most popular as of 2013 survey)

Try to keep your end result at 26 letters. If you don't want to use a dollar sign for the S's, use another symbol.

Write it all down in your Dollar Store notebook so you have it.

Each time you change your password, go back to the notebook and make the change.

If ever you forget to write down the change when you give yourself a new password, you will have first hand experience with frustration when you try to remember where you put all those $$ and ## and __.

~~*~~*~~*~~*~~*~~*~~*~~*~~*~~*~~*~~*~~*~~*~~*~~*

Password Reminder Question

Often your password screen will offer a password reminder question.

The answer cannot be your password. It is meant to be something to remind you of what the password is.

As in the above example, Bailey is the dog's name but you have numbers in it.

So the security question "What is the dog's name?" could be answered with "first page of notebook" which is the "reminder" of where to locate the password.

So write down that question and answer as well.

These are different from your security questions that are used to verify your identity, which is discussed in a separate article.

~~*~~*~~*~~*~~*~~*~~*~~*~~*~~*~~*~~*~~*~~*~~*~~*

If Your Password Is On This List, Change It!

Superman

password

123456

123456789

qwerty

abc123

passw0rd

monkey

letmein (Let Me In)

trustno1

dragon

baseball

shadow

123123

sunshine

master

654321

michael

football

master

iloveyou

111111

bailey

ashley

buster

doggie

qazwsx

football

doctorwho

encyclopedia

Do The Two-Step!

If a site offers a two-step process for verification of your identity when you enter your password, TAKE IT!

This is usually done to access an email account, but Google and other websites are using it too. It will only be a matter of time before it is so prevalent that one step password setups will be a thing of the past.

The two-steps might be a drag sometimes, but it is an added layer of protection. Here's how it works after you have followed the setup directions in the following video:

  • 1, Let's say you are trying to access your bank account online. You have entered your password. This should not give you access to your account. If it does, your two-step is not set up properly.
  • 2. In the setup previously, you have already decided if you want to answer a question on screen or if you want their system to send you a text message to your cellphone, to your email inbox or a voice message to your home phone. Usually it is a 4 to 6 digit code for you to enter on the screen in order to access your account.
  • 3. Entering the code tells them that you are you and there is no doubt to your identity.

If you are using the two-step for website which is not your email site, it is never a good idea to have the text sent to your email because once your email is compromised (i.e. hacked), you will never get the text they sent. This is because you no longer have control of the email account. The hacker got the text in your email and now has it to access the website in question.

Don't store your phone number on any accounts.

Don't even send an email to yourself with your security questions, answers, password changes or phone numbers. Get a notebook at the Dollar Store and write it all down in there.

What I like about the two step process is this:

If I am not the person signing on to my account and the text comes to my phone with the code, instantly I am alerted that someone is trying to sign on to my account. I am able to get on to my account and change the password immediately.

~~*~~*~~*~~*~~*~~*~~*~~*~~*~~*~~*~~*~~*~~*~~*~~*

No Cellphone? No Problem!

This next video tell how to set this up without a cellphone.

If you do have a cellphone, this option is especially useful

  1. if you are watching how you spend your data minutes,
  2. if you don't have data capabilities, or
  3. if you have used up all you data minutes for the month.

Two Step Verification Without A Cellphone

Tips

1. Never click YES when the popup asks you to save your passwords. A hacker will have no challenge at all because you gave him easy access.

2. To keep your passwords strong, you have to keep them updated. At the first sign of anything fishy - a strange email, your mouse looks like it has a mind of its own moving around the screen or going in directions you are not aiming it, an alarming amount of spam - change passwords now. You don't have to get drastic, just make simple changes to the passwords you have now changing symbols, adding numbers, make them go backwards, etc.

3. Change the order of the special symbols.

4. Change the upper case letters to lower and the lower case letters to upper.

5. Make your sentence read backward instead of forward.

6. On the password, I like to make the first 4 digits the date I changed the password. And I like to add the last two digits as letters of the site.

  • For example, if I changed the G Mail password on September 1 using the password sentence: My daughter is having a baby on September 30 and I am so excited - it can look like this:

0901MdI#AbO$30_AI$EGm

I hope you found this helpful. Please see my other articles on password safety and security question and answers.

What Do You Do?

How do you keep track of your passwords?

See results

Do Not Copy

© Rachael O'Halloran, September 2014

© 2014 Rachael O'Halloran

Comments

Submit a Comment

  • Linda BookLady profile image

    Linda Jo Martin 2 years ago from Post Falls, Idaho, USA

    Thanks for all the good information about how to create and store passwords. I will take your advice, as much as I am able.

  • billybuc profile image

    Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

    Now this may be one of the most useful and helpful hubs I have read in a very long time. Excellent information for anyone who works online...this should be on the Yahoo home page...it is that universal and helpful. Very good work here, Rachael.

  • RachaelOhalloran profile image
    Author

    Rachael O'Halloran 2 years ago from United States

    #Linda BookLady - Thank you for reading and commenting. If you don't have a cell phone, the second video explains how to do it without one.

  • RachaelOhalloran profile image
    Author

    Rachael O'Halloran 2 years ago from United States

    #billybuc

    WOW! Thank you for your praise!

    It's part of my ebook WIP and I was hoping that it wasn't too technical. I guess I just needed the great HubPages community to read it and say that it was understandable.

    Thank you again. :)

  • DDE profile image

    Devika Primić 2 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

    My passwords are safe with me and have not written it anywhere. Very interesting information here and you have created such a helpful hub.

  • Brie Hoffman profile image

    Brie Hoffman 2 years ago from Manhattan

    Great article, how I hate having to remember passwords. It seems like even when I write them down I get them wrong.

  • bravewarrior profile image

    Shauna L Bowling 2 years ago from Central Florida

    Rachael, I keep all my user names and passwords in a notebook. Additionally, I record the same information - in pencil - on the inside of the file folders I keep for paid bills, by creditor. I re-use the folders after each tax year, so I always have the information at my fingertips. When the folders become too worn out, I erase the password info and shred the folder.

    Great information, as always!

  • MsDora profile image

    Dora Isaac Weithers 2 years ago from The Caribbean

    Very helpful. Passwords are a challenge, but with all the information you've given they're worth protecting. Thank you.

  • RachaelOhalloran profile image
    Author

    Rachael O'Halloran 2 years ago from United States

    #DDE -As long as you don't forget them, and as long as there is a way people who NEED to know if something happens to you can access them, that's all that counts. Do whatever works for you. Thanks for reading.

  • RachaelOhalloran profile image
    Author

    Rachael O'Halloran 2 years ago from United States

    #Brie Hoffman,

    Sometimes things get jumbled up when we transfer them from screen to paper. It can happen to the best of us even on a good day. Slowdown when you write them down. If you forget a password one time, you'll find a way to get it right so you don't have frustration in trying to get a password to work. I'm glad you liked this article, thank you for reading.

  • RachaelOhalloran profile image
    Author

    Rachael O'Halloran 2 years ago from United States

    #MsDora

    Passwords are supposed to be a challenge to those who have no reason or rights to be accessing them! I'm glad you took my words to heart and thank you for reading.

  • RachaelOhalloran profile image
    Author

    Rachael O'Halloran 2 years ago from United States

    #bravewarrior

    You sound like you have quite a system! A notebook is handy, that's why I suggested it to keep by the computer or within reach. I'm glad you have a good system and that it works for you. We do whatever it takes to protect our privacy - and passwords. I have an article coming up on secret questions and answers...so stay tuned. Thanks for reading and commenting.

  • breakfastpop profile image

    breakfastpop 2 years ago

    Thanks for this. Passwords make me insane. Inventing a good one can be daunting, but nothing is harder for me than remembering them! Voted up, interesting and totally useful.

  • RachaelOhalloran profile image
    Author

    Rachael O'Halloran 2 years ago from United States

    #breakfastpop

    Solution: $1 store notebook! LOL

    I'm glad this article was of some assistance :)

    Thank you for reading, voting and commenting

  • ologsinquito profile image

    ologsinquito 2 years ago from USA

    This is excellent advice. If only those hackers could put their brains to good use.

  • RachaelOhalloran profile image
    Author

    Rachael O'Halloran 2 years ago from United States

    #ologsinquito,

    If only! Thanks for reading :)

  • Doris Dancy profile image

    Doris H. Dancy 2 years ago from Yorktown, Virginia

    Thank you for this invaluable help. You have no idea how crazy I am with passwords. I HATE the little necessary things. You have helped a lot. I love the idea of the sentence; I just have to remember the sentence. LOL

  • RachaelOhalloran profile image
    Author

    Rachael O'Halloran 2 years ago from United States

    #Doris Dancy

    Ahem, write it down! LOL Put it under your mousepad (if you use one) or on an index card taped to the edge of your monitor. Someplace where someone seeing the sentence will just think it is a favorite quote.

    Thanks for taking the time to read my article

  • annart profile image

    Ann Carr 2 years ago from SW England

    Wise words and so helpful. I do some of the above but I must admit I'm not as thorough as I should be. This is a comprehensive hub with invaluable info for everyone, easy to read and easy to follow.

    Thanks for this. I'm going to rehash a lot of my passwords!

    Ann

  • Beth Eaglescliffe profile image

    Beth Eaglescliffe 2 years ago from UK

    Rachael, this is a really useful and helpful article. You've given excellent tips on how to create a unique password... now I just need to remember to use them!

    Voted up.

  • Dolores Monet profile image

    Dolores Monet 2 years ago from East Coast, United States

    I love the idea that the best defense against those techno-savy hackers is a good old fashioned pen and notebook!

  • OldRoses profile image

    Caren White 2 years ago from Franklin Park, NJ

    As an IT professional, I can vouch that this is excellent advice. Use different passwords for each site you access and change them regularly. Voted up, awesome and shared.

  • Made profile image

    Madeleine Salin 2 years ago from Finland

    I never know what password I should choose. This is a very useful hub. Thank you for all the great advice.

  • RachaelOhalloran profile image
    Author

    Rachael O'Halloran 2 years ago from United States

    #Made, Thank you for reading. I am glad it is helpful.

  • RachaelOhalloran profile image
    Author

    Rachael O'Halloran 2 years ago from United States

    #OldRoses,

    That's quite a compliment! I appreciate your taking the time to read and comment, share, vote, and praise! lol Thank you.

  • RachaelOhalloran profile image
    Author

    Rachael O'Halloran 2 years ago from United States

    #Dolores Monet,

    The internet is not a safe place. Period.

    Anything you think is stored safely with a password is only safe if the password is unhackable. To a hacker who loves a challenge, even my advice will be read by him and he will hack away using it. Change the "password sentence" often to keep a hacker at bay as much as possible. Then write it down!

    You can't hack paper and pen. Thanks for reading and commenting.

  • RachaelOhalloran profile image
    Author

    Rachael O'Halloran 2 years ago from United States

    #Beth Eaglescliffe,

    Put a post it note on your rmonitor with the word "notebook" written on it and writing stuff down will become a habit. Of all the things I mentioned, the best tool is a spiral notebook kept within reach, but not out in the open so it is visible to visitors or servicemen working in your home. I don't use the same password twice anywhere. I try to change them every 3 to 6 months which means I am constantly looking up passwords because I just can't keep them all straight. lol Thanks for reading and for following me.

  • RachaelOhalloran profile image
    Author

    Rachael O'Halloran 2 years ago from United States

    #annart

    I'm glad this wasn't too over the top to digest Thank you for your compliment and good luck on your password changes. Write them down!

    Gosh I hate to keep repeating that, but it is so important. Thank you for reading and commenting.

  • vkwok profile image

    Victor W. Kwok 2 years ago from Hawaii

    Thanks for the safety tips, Rachael! Thumbs up!

  • RachaelOhalloran profile image
    Author

    Rachael O'Halloran 2 years ago from United States

    #vkwok, Thanks for commenting and for your ongoing support.

  • Nell Rose profile image

    Nell Rose 2 years ago from England

    Hi, this is great info! I used to be terrible with my passwords, the same one for about three different sites! but now they are all changed, and yes I like the idea of the double password with a code, they are doing it on my emails at the moment, nell

  • FlourishAnyway profile image

    FlourishAnyway 2 years ago from USA

    Great advice. I store mine in a notebook but do wonder what if someone got the notebook!

  • RachaelOhalloran profile image
    Author

    Rachael O'Halloran 2 years ago from United States

    #Nell Rose

    2 step verification (or authentication) is the extra insurance you need on any account if the site offers it. Even the weakest password wouldn't get hacked if one has this 2 step verification to receive a code first before getting access to the account . Thank you for visiting and commenting.

  • RachaelOhalloran profile image
    Author

    Rachael O'Halloran 2 years ago from United States

    #FlourishAnyway,

    The best way to take care of the notebook is in plain sight with a non-descript label on the front - my recipes. That's what I do and so far no one is interested in my recipes. lol

    Seriously though, I did let my immediate family know there is a notebook of recipes that has all the access codes to my websites and other accounts so they know to look for the book when the time comes and that if it says recipes, it is not recipes!

    Thanks for reading and commenting.

  • teaches12345 profile image

    Dianna Mendez 2 years ago

    Thank you for this valuable information. This is the best advice I've had on passwords. I will certainly use this and keep it on file.

  • RachaelOhalloran profile image
    Author

    Rachael O'Halloran 2 years ago from United States

    #teaches12345

    Wow, that's quite a compliment. I'm glad it was helpful to you. Thank you for reading and commenting.

  • AliciaC profile image

    Linda Crampton 2 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

    This is a very useful and very important hub, Rachel! Thanks for creating it.

  • RachaelOhalloran profile image
    Author

    Rachael O'Halloran 2 years ago from United States

    #AliciaC,

    I'm glad you found it helpful. Thanks for reading and commenting.

  • Colleen Swan profile image

    Colleen Swan 2 years ago from County Durham

    Hi Rachael, you are so right-the hassle of creating a password that is hard to remember is well worth the price of enhanced privacy. I also find when factual information is requested it is wise to be a bit creative.

  • RachaelOhalloran profile image
    Author

    Rachael O'Halloran 2 years ago from United States

    #Colleen Swan,

    There is no reason ANY website needs to know the TRUTH on your security answers. LIE, LIE, LIE. Telling the truth is what hackers count on, because as they have gained access to your other accounts, they learn your preferences, favorite colors, parents names, siblings, where you were born, etc. and that's how they guess security answers. LIE! Then write it down! My new article is awaiting quality control about this topic and it should be published soon.

    Thanks for reading and commenting.

  • Arachnea profile image

    Tanya Jones 2 years ago from Texas USA

    Great hub. You've put it succinctly - the do's and dont's. I may have to revamp a few of my passwords.

  • RachaelOhalloran profile image
    Author

    Rachael O'Halloran 2 years ago from United States

    #Arachnea

    My rule for me is when I no longer have to look up a password, it is time to change it. That's just me. Some people like remembering them so they don't have to look them up. But you want them to be as hard to crack as possible with lots of letters, numbers and symbols.

    You should try to update/change security questions and answers more often because more than any other, this is the way hackers get in to crack your password. They learn by reading hacked emails of other friends, by trolling your articles and social media to get to know your ways, hoping your settings will allow them to eavesdrop of what info you share with others. If you have spoken about something close to the topic of your Q & A's, change the question or make the answer so absurd no one will guess it.

    Then write it down!

    Have fun! Thanks for reading and commenting.

  • The Examiner-1 profile image

    The Examiner-1 2 years ago

    This was a very useful and interesting Hub Rachael. I am always looking for better ways to protect them. Presently I already use the capitals, numbers, and symbols. I write them in a notebook besides memorizing them.

    Kevin

  • RachaelOhalloran profile image
    Author

    Rachael O'Halloran 2 years ago from United States

    Kevin, if you are busy as I am, writing down passwords and secret questions/answers is the only way to remember them. I too keep a notebook. I also change up the sequences of characters, capitals and symbols every few weeks depending on the website.

    We gotta stay a few steps ahead of the hackers to protect what is ours.

    Thanks for reading and commenting. Glad to be following you again. :)

  • FatBoyThin profile image

    Colin Garrow 22 months ago from Kinneff, Scotland

    Pretty scary stuff. I really like your sentence idea for creating new passwords and I think when I change my current ones (which I'll do soon, promise!) I'll use this method. Great Hub, and very useful. Voted up.

  • RachaelOhalloran profile image
    Author

    Rachael O'Halloran 19 months ago from United States

    FatBoyThin, thank you for your comment. I'm glad you picked up some useful info and will be applying it soon. (please make it sooner rather than later).

    Every year in January, June, September and during Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays, the hackers are at work on Facebook and often it carries over to other sites as well. The reason they are highly active in those months is because people are busy at other things (school, holidays, weddings, graduations, etc.) and their FB account safety is not one of them.

    Passwords are the one main way we can protect our work and our accounts. If you don't have a strong one as described in this article, you may as well hand over the keys to your life because that is what a weak password is doing. Facebook is primed right now because the amount of hacking this month has been incredible.

    I've spent the last 6 months on Facebook working with a Cybersecurity team trying to get people to lock down their accounts and friends lists so they don't leave their friends vulnerable for scams and hackers.

    It is amazing the types of passwords they use. Their dog's name Banjo and his date of birth, their mother's maiden name, their street address, their birthdate and some letters, you name it, I've seen it all. I am hoping I left some impression on them about password safety.

    I'm glad you are on top of this and will act accordingly soon. TYVM for reading :)

    Rache

  • DzyMsLizzy profile image

    Liz Elias 19 months ago from Oakley, CA

    I've been using mixed-up numbers and symbols for some time, and I use some obscure types of things as well. I probably should update some, and I do use the same one, or variations thereof for more than one site.

    It is harder for me to recall things at my age, and it's a royal P.I.T.A. to have to go refer to a cheat sheet all the time, several times a day.

    I don't use a notebook, per se, but I do have a card file. And even if someone found that, it would do them no good, as my actual passwords are not there, either; only hints that remind ME of what password I used for that site.

    I also don't have such long passwords, either. I guess I should change that... sigh...I hate thieves.. They make everything so difficult. If only there were a way to make it hard for hackers without inconveniencing the legitimate users!

  • RachaelOhalloran profile image
    Author

    Rachael O'Halloran 18 months ago from United States

    Hi DzyMsLizzy, I am glad to see you are on top of your game in security measures. I agree with you that there should be a way to make things harder for hackers. It seems WE provide most of our own protection on sites that say they have our security uppermost in their minds. I fail to see that when I have to go to great lengths to protect my accounts. I wish I could protect my writing work as well as some of my accounts are protected! TY for reading and commenting :)

Click to Rate This Article