A beginner’s guide to fending off hackers and scammers: Part 3 – Creating strong passwords

The spotlight is once again shining on the importance of internet security, following in the wake of the recent hack on TalkTalk, so it would not be surprising if you are worrying about your own online safety and how you can go about preventing hackers and scammers from accessing your sensitive data.

If you use the internet for shopping, banking and other money-related activities, one of the most important things you can do to fend off hackers and scammers is create strong passwords for all of your accounts.

Creating a strong password

Admittedly, it is a minor annoyance having to create strong passwords for each and every one of your online accounts, but it is nothing compared to the inconvenience and worry that will be caused if your account is hacked, so it’s a very good idea to become password savvy.

A strong password is one that will not be easily cracked, so avoid the likes of ‘password1’ or ‘123456’. Instead, it should be something long and as complex as possible. Ideally, at the very least your password should contain at least one capital letter, one number, and one character such as an asterisk or star.

Revel in nonsense

It is even better if you can make your password both long and nonsensical to anyone but yourself. A good way of doing this is to take a sentence and use the first letter from each word, along with symbols to represent some words, and create a memorable (to you) string of characters that no one else would be able to decipher or guess at.

For example, the phrase ‘No one will be able to guess my password!’ could become ‘N1wba2gmp!’ – please don’t now use that particular example though.

Password generators

Alternatively, you could use a strong password generator to create a unique password for your use.

However you create a stronger password, change them every few months, and don’t use the same one for every site.

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