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How to Create a Strong Password in 4 Simple Steps

With so much of our lives being online, it’s crucial that sensitive and personal information is protected from scheming fraudsters and internet hustlers. The simplest, yet impactful way anyone can keep their important information safe is by creating a strong password.  

Here are four tips that will help you come up with a secure password for each of your online logins.

1. The longer, the better

As schemers get smarter, so should passwords, and the longer a password is, the tougher it is to figure out. IT professionals recommend users create passwords that are at least 13 characters long. Although that may feel like a lot to come up with, remember that good, effective passwords use a healthy mixture of uppercase letters, lowercase letters, and special characters, including punctuation marks, ampersands, and the pound and dollar signs.  

Using an assortment of capital letters, number and symbols will likely leave your passwords looking rather incoherent–which is the point. Passwords aren’t meant to be pretty. Typically, ugly passwords are best at protecting what matters most.

2. Stay away from common words or phrases

As you begin to create lengthier passwords, it may be tempting to incorporate a popular movie quote or catchphrase, but either option is likely too well-known to be safe. Stay clear from words or phrases that are easily identifiable, or that directly identify the specific company or service you’re using.  

For example, if you are creating a password for your Utah Community Credit Union account, do not use our name or any variation of our name, like UCCU, or any of our general services, like banking or loans, in your password. Doing so will make your password easier to crack.

3. Something you can remember

The trick for any password you create is finding the happy medium between creating something that’s easy for you to remember, but hard for others to guess. Because this is the case, it may be beneficial to use something specific in your life as the subject as your password, like the name and description of your dog. However, it’s important not to use anything easily discoverable online, especially on your social media accounts. Find something that will quickly come to and stick in your mind, but would be tough for anyone else to put together.

4. Unique for every login

Imagine living in an apartment complex that rents out one hundred units to one hundred different tenets, but each unit locks and unlocks with the same exact key design. If just one key fell into the wrong hands, one hundred apartments would suddenly be at risk.

The same situation arises if you reuse password for multiple logins. If your overused password becomes compromised, a scammer would have access to more than just a singular system, putting you and your personal information in major danger.

It may seem tedious, but creating a unique password for every login will save you from potential stress and grief in the long run.

UCCU is committed to keeping your online bank accounts and information safe. This is why we’ve created Be Fraud Smart, a free resource that will help keep your entire family educated, informed, and up-to-date about current frauds and scams plus what to do should you fall victim.

Keep your password safe and secure

Passwords are meant to be long, confusing and not easy to remember. This is to help protect you in case any company you have shared a password with has a data breach.  If that happens, you only lose your secure password for that single company instead of having to figure out what other accounts are at risk because you shared passwords.

Now that your password is long and confusing, you can use a password manager to help you keep track of your passwords. They help you remember the passwords you use on different websites and are not logged on a piece of paper that is easy to lose. Most web browsers have some type of password manager you can use to help you keep your passwords long and secure.  Forbes Advisors list 8 Password Managers commonly used.