How to make your passwords secure

With the recent news of email accounts being hacked there seems to be plenty of advice floating around for avoiding falling victim to scams and other attacks. One of the pieces of advice is to use a strong password .Even though there’s no evidence that would have helped in the recently-reported instances a strong password is definitely a good weapon to have in your security arsenal along with a solid antivirus product, firewall, a good dose of scepticism, a mistrust of links in emails, and common sense.

I thought it worth sharing some ideas of how to ensure that your passwords are secure as most people – me included – struggle to remember passwords that conform to the general advice of “strong” passwords: Mixture of upper and lower case, mixture of letters and numbers and even punctuation, at least 6 characters long and preferably longer, should not be made up of words you’d find in a dictionary.

So a strong password might be “ihbciaS1gafoa103” for example. Not particularly memorable? Well actually it might be. If you’re trying to think of a good password for your Hotmail account, think of a song with the word “hot” in the title. How about “Hot Blooded” by Foreigner (younger people are saying “who?” at this stage).

The first line of Hot Blooded is “I’m hot blooded, check it and see, I got a fever of a hundred and three”.

Now take a look at that password again. I’ve taken the first letter of each word of that first line, used an upper case letter on the word that’s stressed in the line (“see”), and the number 1 for “I” the second time it’s used in the sentence, and “103” for “hundred and three”.

It’s actually pretty easy to remember now, even if you have to sing it to yourself in your head to remember it. And believe me, that’s definitely a strong password.

What do you reckon? Does this work for you? And other ideas you’d like to share?