How to create passwords that are long, strong and memorable

By Plumas Bank August 2, 2019 Cybersecurity

Experts warn that strong passwords are key to keeping your personal information safe. Here are some helpful tips on how to create long, strong and memorable passwords:

Make your passwords:

  • Long and strong - Plumas Bank requires a minimum of 8 characters; however, your password can be as long as 15 characters.
  • Use a random mixture of uppercase (A-Z) and lowercase letters (a-z) along with numbers (0-9) and symbols (such as !, @, #, $, %). Plumas Bank requires at least one number, one upper case letter, and one special character or symbol to be part of the mix for your online banking password.
  • Avoid using full names, places and dictionary words.

It is recommended to use different passwords for each online account and not re-use passwords. Of course, we all know how difficult it is to keep all our passwords straight based on memory alone. Here are some suggestions on how to make your passwords more memorable:

  • Create separate passwords for each online account that incorporate up to five words that don't ordinarily appear together, plus a mix of capital and lowercase letters and special characters. For each account, come up with a phrase that's meaningful to you, then create a password using the first letter of each word and unique special characters. Get creative using punctuation and capitalization.
  • Don’t use family names, birthdays, anniversaries, or common phrases from literature. The more nonsensical it appears to others, the better.
  • Download a password management tool like LastPass, 1Password or Dashlane, which will store your passwords and even help you generate strong ones. While not fool proof, experts say that password managers are still one of the safest ways to store and organize your information.
  • When possible, use two-factor authentication. That means your account has a second layer of protection: For instance, choose a biometric authentication method, like fingerprint or facial recognition, whenever possible.

Protecting your information is worth the effort.

Creating and maintaining strong passwords may require a little creativity up front, but protecting your information is worth the effort. Victims of identity theft spend countless hours trying to resolve the credit problems, financial disputes, and legal issues that result from the crime.

Additional ways to safeguard your personal information:

  • Avoid oversharing on Social Media.
  • Never share your passwords.
  • Close online accounts you never use.
  • Ensure that your computer’s anti-virus and antispyware software are up to date.
  • Take care when using public Wi-Fi networks.
  • Beef up the security of your own home wireless network.
  • Steer Clear of Phishing - Phishing is a way for fraudsters to deceive you into sharing your personal information, like usernames, passwords or financial details. Use caution when you receive a message from someone you don't recognize with a request to click a link or take urgent action. Familiarize yourself with telltale signs of phishing scams, like spelling errors in emails, a vague salutation that doesn't include your name, and email addresses or URLs in the message that aren't quite in line with the company they're supposedly associated with.

Remember, the more information you share online, the more that can be compromised by those who don't have your best interests in mind. Stay vigilant and communicate online with a healthy amount of skepticism, and data that's private will stay that way.

Read more cybersecurity tips