The Password management firm SplashData have released their list of the 25 worst passwords of 2015 and in the process, illustrating how many online users share the same or similar, weak passwords. This frightening data shed light on how many people still use outdated and obvious techniques to protect their details on many websites.

With this in mind, and considering the extreme importance of some passwords we use online (banking in particular), we thought we’d compile some handy hints and tips for making your passwords slightly more difficult to hack than ‘123456’ or the old favourite, ‘password’.

1 – Length is an advantage, the longer your password, the more difficult it will be to guess, so don’t be afraid to choose a lengthy one. Experts advise between 12 and 14 characters, but many sites don’t have a maximum character limit so by all means go longer.

2 – If the website requires a number within the password, steer clear of birthdays, addresses, mobile numbers and other such numbers that could be discovered elsewhere. Pick something that you can remember but isn’t instantly obvious, the number of houses you’ve lived in, number of times you’ve been to a certain holiday destination or how many episodes of The Simpsons there are, whatever number you know that someone else can’t guess.

3 – Don’t allow your browser to remember your password for you. Although it’s easier and more convenient, and constantly requested, should your computer be stolen, every password you have is instantly useless and whoever has the computer now has free access to everything.

4 – Stay away from words on their own, or combinations of words. Also avoid obvious substitutions, ‘passw0rd’ also made it onto the 25 Worst Password list even though it combines words and numbers.

5 – Use a different password for each major account, emails, banking, credit cards etc. Again this is insuring yourself from losing everything in one go.

6 – Constructing a password from a sentence can aid your memory recall and yet be nigh impossible to guess, for example the sentence ‘I like my tea with two sugars and lots of milk’ would become ‘Ilmtw2salom’, a nice combination of letters, with a number and a capital letter yet nonsense to an outside observer.

7 – Similar to number 6, don’t be afraid to create nonsense words or squash bits of several words that make sense to you, together. The first two letters of every month with 31 days would give you the password ‘JaMaMaJuAuOcDe’ for example.

8 – Or if all else seems impossible, use a Password manager, although you’ll still need to remember your password for that! A password manager will store your login information for all the websites you use and help you log into them automatically. They encrypt your password database with a master password – so the master password is the only one you have to remember, and now of course you have tips to help you create a good one!

So, hopefully this list will aid you online and help avoid the long blank stare when asked to create a new password next time. Whether you use some of our tips or all of them, your safety and the safety of your data online is the key, so good luck and remember, Cypw&ywgw! (Choose your passwords wisely and you won’t go wrong!)

If you have any more queries or questions, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us by calling 0191 2960111 or visiting the ‘Contact Us‘ page on the website.