Here’s how to make your password as secure as possible

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In the wake of the devastating cyber attack on Yahoo, which is estimated to have affected more than one billion people, here are some tips on how you can create a strong password.

We rely on our passwords to protect pretty much everything that we do online.

Despite this heavy reliance, it is frightening how many people still use passwords such as 123456 and ‘password’.

Should we use the same password for different sites?

The answer is ‘no’ but we all do it. Really, we should have different passwords for different every site that we use but then you have issues with remembering them.

The best thing to do is have something that you can remember easily but which is also very difficult for someone else to work out.

The best way to devise a password is to come up with a phrase that means something to you. For instance, ‘What street did I grow up on called?’, you could then have the password ‘WsdIguoC?5’.

You will then have upper and lower case letters as well as numbers and symbols, this is much harder to crack.

How long should my password be?

The advice that is generally offered is for it to be over eight characters. Avoid names or dates of birth as these can be quite easy to guess.

What other techniques are there?

Another way of creating a strong and memorable password is by using a technique Diceware.

All you need is a regular dice and the Diceware Word list.

With this technique, you would roll a dice 5 times to come up with a word, 23454 would create the word ‘droll’ for example.

Do this process three times and you have three completely random words for your password.

How long should I keep a password?

The standard advice is that you change your password every three months although every month is preferable.

Password management

If all the above techniques fail you could always resort to using a password manager such as Password Safe or LastPass.

These password managers make it easy to create and store strong passwords for all your online accounts. All you must do then is remember one master password.

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