Secrets to a Great Password

We’ve been told what makes a weak password, but what makes a strong password? Here are six easy steps to keeping accounts secure and passcodes strong.

Strong passwords start with creativity. But did you know that in addition to misspellings, obscure references or “non-words,” the length is the ultimate weapon to a strong password? According to BECU security experts , a password only four letters long can be broken in a matter of minutes, but a password 12 characters long takes as long as 200 years.

Read on for six guidelines to crafting an uncrack-able code:

  1. Use a combination of numbers, special characters, lowercase and capital letters.
  2. Try using a “non-word,” e.g., appledum42 vs. apple42.
  3. Create passwords that are at least 12 characters long. We stress the longer the better, such as using a pass phrase – a string of words that have meaning to you but will create a long password (such as Hackers1sUnder@ppreci@ted).

  4. Use deliberate, but obvious misspellings, such as “enjin” instead of “engine”.

  5. Ensure your phone number and email on file are accurate, updated, and ones that you check often or answer.  Most companies send out an email or text message when a password has been changed. If this was not you, take immediate action.

  6. Use stronger authentication when offered as an option. Stronger authentication could be a one-time PIN texted to a mobile device, providing an added layer of security beyond the password and username. Always opt to enable stronger authentication when available, especially for accounts with sensitive information including your email or bank accounts. A stronger authentication helps verify a user has authorized access to an online account.