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Change Your Password Day– Tricks for next generation passwords

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Today, February 1st, is Change Your Password Day. It was created in 2012 because millions of user accounts had to be reset after an attack on an online shop in the USA. The day is supposed to encourage us to use secure passwords and to change them regularly, but there are also critical voices…

"The password must consist of at least 8 characters and be case-sensitive." This note should sound familiar to many of us when we create an account with a new service. Many, of course, fall back on an easy-to-remember password, as an example "Jerry2000". The name of your cat and your year of birth are not difficult to crack, especially if people around you are after your account. In addition, people use the same password for many services for the sake of simplicity - so if someone were to crack the password, they would have access to about 50% of the online accounts.. But what makes an effective password and - the almost more important question - how can you remember it?

About patterns and systems, senselessness and special characters

A common system is to think of an easy-to-remember phrase and use only the first letters of the words. Thus, "Jerry is a Maine Coon cat and 11 years old" becomes "JiaMCca11yo".

Further, some people generally use the same password for each platform, but have a specific pattern: they put in the name of the platform. "Jerry[platform name]2020" is already harder to crack and is never used more than once.

Another trick is to use completely senseless passwords that you can still remember, precisely because they may sound so stupid. An example: BouncingGardenFence26. Ever thought of or seen a bouncing garden fence? No? Neither have I.

It is also helpful to include special characters. "!Jerry*2000" or "bouncing_garden_f3nce?26" are no longer so easy to crack.

To make the password even stronger, you can of course use the above methods and tricks together.

And if you are afraid that you will not be able to remember your passwords, you can use password safes. With these programmes, a master password is usually set and only with this you can access all the saved passwords. You should just make sure not to forget this master password.

The critical voices of Change Your Password Day

However, not everyone considers February 1st to be a sensible date. For example, Jürgen Schmidt, editor-in-chief of Security at heise, says that strong passwords are of no use at all if the online service connected to them is not sufficiently secured. Providers should rather concentrate on ensuring that their data is not stolen. There are already about 2.2 billion data sets with stolen access details circulating on the internet.

Both articles are german only

By the way: Where you should not worry about stolen customer data or strong passwords is when sending emails with sensitive content. Thanks to Frama RMail, you can use password encryption for messages, in addition to many other helpful functions. Either have one generated automatically or determine one yourself (taking the above tips into account, of course). You can read more about this here.


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