A strong password, for work or your personal computer, has a minimum of eight characters and is easy to remember, but difficult to guess. It's best not to use dictionary words, proper names and nouns, or personally identifiable information. Follow these five steps to create a strong password.
Step 1: Choose a favorite phrase or quote with five or more words. It should be easy for you to remember, but hard for someone who knows you to guess. It could be a line from your favorite song, book, verse, proverb or title. Example: "A Word To The Wise Is Sufficient"
Step 2: Remove all but the first letter of each word to create your base password. Using the above phrase, the new base is: AWTTWIS
Step 3: The best passwords will always be composed of eight or more characters. To make your new password both complex and more secure, it is recommended to use at least three substitutions. Substitutions create a unique mixture of upper/lower case letters, numbers and special characters ($, &, +, !, @) to replace normal letters and numbers. The password example now becomes: @WT+w15
Step 4: Finish your password by inputting your personal substitution into the base password. If your base password word is less than eight characters, simply add a smiley face :-), winky face ;-), eyeglass face 8-), sad face :-( , or an exclamation mark ! anywhere into your new password. Example: @WT+w15!
Step 5: Remember to change your password to comply with password policies or quarterly. Change immediately and more frequent if you think it might have been compromised or shared. By using the substitution method above, you can easily change your password by changing out some of the substitution options to make a new password while retaining the original phrase.
Security Tip: Always use a different password for each of your financial accounts as compared to your social media/email accounts. Therefore, if your home or office social media password gets compromised then your financial password will remain safe.