In wake of the Heartbleed disaster a switch of passwords would seem fitting. Passwords provide the first line of defence against unauthorized access to your computer. The stronger your password, the more protected your computer will be from hackers and malicious software.

You should make sure you have strong passwords for all accounts on your computer. A strong password is at least eight characters long and does not contain your user name, real name or a complete word. It should be significantly different from any other passwords you have used before. Further it should contain characters from each of the following categories:

  1. Upper case letters (A, B, C)
  2. Lower case letters (d, e, f)
  3. Numbers (1,2,3,4)
  4. Symbols (#$&§)
Photo by BankSimple

Photo by BankSimple

However, a password might meet all the above listed criteria and still be a weak password. For example, MonkeY2.0 meets all the criteria for a strong password listed above, but is still weak because it contains a complete word. If you type it like this, M0nK3Y2.o, it becomes a stronger alternative as it replaces some of the letters in the complete word with numbers. Another idea could be to use the first letters of a line in a song or to make acronyms for things that are meaningful to you. For instance; Happy birthday to you! followed by the birth month of your dog and a symbol. It could for example look like this; HbtY!08%. This password seems really weird but is actually quite easy to remember for the user.

Photo by Fernando

Photo by Fernando

If you feel you must write down your password in order to remember it, make sure you don’t label it as your password, and keep it in a safe place. In addition to having a strong password, you should opt for the two-step verification where you can. Not all services provide this, but with those who do, you should definitely employ it. The two-step verification basically means that you first type in your username and password and the application sends a password to your mobile phone, which you insert afterwards in order to access your account. Finally, you should change your passwords on a regular basis, and remember, do not use the same password twice!