How can you create the most secure passwords to protect yourself online? If you’re like most people, your passwords are due for an update. Most of the time we put it off because it seems like such a daunting task, but it doesn’t have to be.
Unfortunately, most people end up putting off a password update precisely because it feels like a “long process”. When you do that, though, you leave yourself vulnerable, particularly with all the data breaches that seem to happen every month.
Your passwords are your first line of defense against hacking and identity theft. Spending 10-15 minutes updating to a super secure password is a good investment.
To help you along, I’ve developed a very simple 3-step process to creating extremely strong passwords.
*Note: Some of the links in this article may be affiliate links, which means that at no extra cost to you, I may be compensated if you decide to use a service listed below. Rest assured, I have used every service I recommend and appreciate your support!
Creating Secure Passwords (Video)
To begin, take a few minutes to watch my video below, that will walk you through each of these steps visually. Don’t forget to click to subscribe and give the video a thumbs up!
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Of course, for those of you who would rather read (or skim) through a text version of the video below, you can find my process for creating strong passwords below.
Step 1: Establish Method for Secure Password Creation
The very first step in this process of updating your passwords is to establish a good method of password creation.
Unfortunately, most people tend to either stick with the same password or don’t want to take the time to come up with a better method.
You have a couple options:
- Use a Password Generator: There are a number of great (and free!) password generators online. These generators create random passwords that are much harder to crack than the simple passwords you’re using right now.
- Personal Password Methods: There are a number of different methods you can use, and I’ve already detailed one password creation method I like. The bottom line is that you want a password that is unique for each login and uses capitals, lowercase, numbers and symbols in a seemingly random pattern.
- Use a Password Manager: There are numerous password manager software available. Personally, I use and highly recommend Dashlane. It’s free (with paid upgrades) and comes with an awesome password generator tool.
What’s important here is that you establish a consistent method to create new, unique and secure passwords.
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Step 2: Consider How You’ll Store Your New Secure Passwords
Of course, passwords are only good if you can remember them!
If you find yourself constantly writing passwords down or resetting passwords because you forget them, you need to find a better way to store them.
The least secure way is to write them down on a piece of paper or keep them in a digital file on your phone/computer. Not only is this method time-consuming, it’s also easy to steal.
The best thing you can do at this point is to keep your password list in a secure file either in the cloud or on your computer. Emphasis on the word secure file.
You can password-protect the file you have on your computer, but again, it will be a hassle to open this file and copy/paste every time you want to retrieve a password for use.
A password manager like Dashlane, on the other hand, can handle the secure storage for you. These password managers keep your passwords encrypted behind a master password for retrieval anytime you want.
One of my favorite features of using a password manager like Dashlane is that the software will automatically fill in passwords when you land on a login page. No need for copy/paste…it all does it for you!
Step 3: Systematically Change All Your Passwords
While a new method for creating and storing passwords is a good first two steps, it’s this third step that really make a difference.
How can you systematically go through and change all of your passwords without taking days or weeks to do it?
I propose that you do the following:
- List out Important Accounts: The most important passwords to change will be those on your banking, email and investment accounts. List these accounts out on a piece of paper and then spend just 10-20 minutes changing all those passwords immediately.
- Change Social Media Passwords: Once the important accounts are taken care of, go through and change the passwords on all of your most-used social media accounts (Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, etc.).
- Change Passwords as You Go Along: Once all that is done, each time you log onto one of your accounts that hasn’t had a password change, go ahead and spend 30 seconds making the quick change.
Going through a system like this will keep you from having to sit down for hours at a time and change all your passwords at once. This is one of the reasons why many people procrastinate from changing to secure passwords in the first place.
Final Thoughts | Creating Super Secure Passwords
Congratulations! You’ve taken some great first steps in securing yourself online by establishing a method for creating, storing and systematically changing all of your passwords.
Once this has been done, you can then focus on the next steps in the online security process:
- Adding 2-Factor Authentication: Sometimes a password isn’t enough! Where available, you should add 2-Factor Authentication to your online accounts.
- Start Using a VPN: This is especially true when you’re using an unsecured network such as airport or cafe WiFi. Check out some of the best VPNs available on the market.
- Secure Your Home Network: There are a number of ways to do this, but one of the easiest is to lock down your home WiFi router.
If you have any questions about creating super-secure passwords for your online accounts, leave them in the comments section below.