Creating a good password

 

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Creating a good password

A mother uses her laptop while a small boy colours in next to her

What's coming up?

If you've completed the previous activity, you will have learnt what not to do when creating a password. Now it's time to look at what you should do.

In this activity, we'll look at what makes a good password, and ways to remember passwords.

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What's a good password?

The best kind of password is one that looks like it’s just a jumble of numbers, letters and symbols. It uses both capitals and lowercase letters.

These types of passwords can't be guessed by using personal information, dictionary words or common phrases. Some examples of these kinds of passwords include:

  • Figit32!
  • 12guRi
  • 3br@T2

Of course, these kinds of passwords can be very hard to remember. So we're next going to provide some tips for creating a password that you might not forget.

A notice board with a note showing that a password is the word password.
An example of a good password being 'F7!Day'

Using substitutions

To make a password that's easy to remember, you can take a common word and substitute some letters with numbers, symbols or capital letters.

For example, let's choose Friday to start our password, and then mix it up a bit. First, change the r to a 7 (it's a bit like a backwards r).

Then make the i an exclamation mark (which looks like an upside-down i), and make the d a capital D.

A password like F7!Day will be a lot harder to guess than Friday.

A login screen on a mobile phone asking for a username and a password

Be careful

You do need to be cautious with this method, and make several substitutions. Some common substitutions are well known. For example, if you change the word forever to 4ever, or house to h0use, these are likely to be easily guessed.

Using a lyric or phrase

A popular way of creating memorable passwords is to use the first letters of a song lyric, or passage from a book, poem or a favourite phrase. It should be easy for you to remember, but difficult for someone else to guess.

For example, the song title You can’t always get what you want from the 1960s could form a password like: Ycagwyw

To make the password stronger, you can capitalise the first and last letters, and add numbers for the decade it was written. What you get is a very strong password: YcagwyW60

The lyric 'You can't always get what you want' is typed out with the first letter of each word highlighted.

Using a phrase you can remember

Let's take a look at how Mary might use a phrase she can remember to create a good password.

Click Continue to watch the video on the next screen.

Creating a good password

This demonstration video is approximately 43 seconds in duration. It demonstrates how you can be creative with strong passwords.

Once the video starts, the intro panel fades and we see the screen is split into two parts. On the left-hand side is some text that reads "Married on the 24th July". On the right-hand side, there is text displayed, which is the script for the voiceover track.

Voiceover: "Mary chooses her wedding anniversary to form a password that she will find easy to remember."

The left-hand panel shows some of the letters in the text fade away, leaving M, o, t, 24, o and J visible.

Voiceover: "She takes the first letter of each word as well as the numbers. She uses capitals where the phrase uses capitals."

The left-hand panel shows the random letters and numbers align to make up Mot24oJ.

Voiceover: "Mary has created a password that can't easily be guessed by other people. She could use that password for an account that's important to her, though she shouldn't use it for more than one website!"

The left-hand panel shows Mary using her new password to help her set up a Facebook account.

Voiceover: "Creating unique passwords for each site is the best way to keep yourself safe online."

Video ends.

Creating a website password

Next, let’s look at creating a secure website password. Different websites have different rules about what they consider to be a strong password, so we also show what happens if the website thinks your password isn't strong enough.

On the next slide is a short video to watch as Marion signs up for an online classifieds website and has to create a strong password. Select the Continue button below to move to the next panel where you can play the video.

A screen with a username and password that are displayed as dots

Congratulations!

You've completed the Creating a good password activity.

You've learnt that it's not that difficult to create a good password by simply taking something you know and changing it slightly. That way, you can remember it easily and help ensure that it can't be easily guessed.

Still, eventually you might end up with too many passwords to remember. The next activity, Remembering passwords, will introduce you to tools that can help.