October 16, 2017
Writer: IT Communications Writer

There are tons of tips out there that can help you make a stronger, safer password; but it's pretty tempting to ignore them all and keep using the same password you made up in middle school. After all, creating a password can seem complicated, and with all the password tips you hear, it feels like keeping any account safe requires your password to have an uppercase letter, a lowercase letter, a number, a symbol, your right hand, and your firstborn child.

Thankfully that's not the case (at least not the last two). Creating a secure password is as easy as following the common advice shared below.

Make your password at least 12 characters long. This makes it long enough to be difficult for criminals to guess, but still easy enough for you to remember.

Make sure your password contains uppercase letters, lowercase letters, numbers, and symbols. A password that has only one of these qualities is super easy for hackers to figure out. Create a password that contains all of these elements to ensure that it is as secure as possible.

Make your password a phrase. This will help you remember your password, and you can play around with the phrase to make it interesting by using words that might not normally go together. You can also substitute some numbers or symbols for letters, or alternate capital and lowercase letters like you did for your MySpace screen name in 2007. For example, instead of "ILikeMusic" you can do "I<3Mu5Ic!", or you can do something silly like "G00dM1tt3nS!"

Change your password often. This makes it harder for someone to successfully break into your account. They will be trying to figure out one password, then you'll change it and they'll have to start all over, foiling all of their hard criminal work.

Don't use the same password for every account. While this method is much less effort and you get the chance to use the amazing password you came up with after reading this post over and over, it doesn't help to keep your information as safe. If a hacker figures out the password to one account, then they have the password to all of your accounts.

Don't write your password down and leave it lying around. If someone finds the password written down, they have access to whatever account the password is for - and whatever information that account contains. We'd recommend never writing a password down at all, but if you must write a password down, make sure to keep it in a safe spot where nobody will ever see it. This principle applies to writing your password on a PostIt and sticking it to your computer screen, too.

Hopefully these tips can help you create a new, safer password, instead of the "Bieberluvvr2006" password you created in middle school. For more password tips, and more tips about cybersecurity in general, visit www.byui.edu/information-technology/security.