The most common reason of your web site, email account, bank account or some other online account getting hacked is that you were using a very weak password. A weak password is a password which is short in length, uses dictionary words, letter or number patterns, pet names, spouse names etc. If you use a weak password, then it makes hacking you a piece of cake for a hacker – because all he has to do is run a dictionary attack or a brute force attack.
On the other hand if you use a strong password then the hacker would have a hard time trying to break into your online accounts. A strong password is atleast twelve character in length, uses random characters, numerals and other characters. A strong password does not use any names or dictionary words. You should follow the following guidelines for choosing strong passwords to avoid being hacked :
- Use at least 12-characters long password.
- Use both uppercase and lowercase letters.
- Use at least two arabic numerals.
- Use at least two special characters like %, &, #, _ (underline) etc.
The best possible way to generate a strong password is by not using your own brain but by using a sepecialized software like KeyPass. KeePass is an open-source free and light-weight and easy-to-use password manager. It can not only store your passwords but also has a tiny password generator built in.You can download KeyPass from http://keepass.info/.
You can download either the installable edition of the KeyPass or the portable edition. Once KeyPass is installed, run it from its Start Menu shortcut. If you downloaded the portable edition, then just extract it to a folder and run it. In the main KeyPass window, choose Tools → Generate Password.
You would a see a Password Generator window. It has three tabs — Settings, Advanced and Generate. In the Settings tab, there are options for what characters you want in your password and how long you want your password to be. You should set the password length to be 12 (or more). Do not set it to be very long, as you will not be able to remember or type a very long password. Then choose these options — Upper Case, Lower Case, Digits, Underscore, Specials.
After you have set the options for generating the passwords, simply click on the Generate tab. You would see thirty passwords randomly generated in a listbox. You can copy one or more passwords from the list. You can pick up one password you like from the list of the thirty passwords.
To generate the passwords again, simply click on the Settings tab and then back on the Generate tab.
Because all of your online life (whether it is online banking, credit cards or some other personal service like email accounts) is protected by a password, you should make a habit of using strong passwords for all your accounts. The first step in protecting your online privacy is creating a strong password. The open source and free software KeyPass can easily generate very strong passwords for your use.
For more information about the KeyPass Password Generator, you can visit http://keepass.info/help/base/pwgenerator.html.