Three Steps to Strengthen Your Password

September 15, 2020 by Chevron Federal Credit Union

So much of our information is public and many personal passwords can get hacked when using common themes. Even “online quizzes” are designed to steal passwords with questions like “What’s your first pet’s name?” or “What town did you grow up in?”

These are typical security questions that hackers need to access your information. There are also computer programs designed to crack passwords, capable of 350 billion guesses per second. 

So how do we beat that? It’s easier than you think. Here are three steps you can take to strengthen your password. 

Let’s start with a simple password: chocolate. According to How Secure is my Password, this would get cracked instantly.

Step 1: Capitalization

By capitalizing the first letter, making it Chocolate, it would now take 19 hours to crack. Better, but still not great.


Step 2: Use numbers and symbols

If you replace letters with numbers or symbols that look like the letters, it adds complexity. Chocolate becomes Ch0c0l@t3. This would take 3 weeks to crack.  We’re getting closer.


Step 3: Use multiple words

The longer the password, the harder it is to crack. Instead of chocolate, it can be Chocolate Milkshake, and it would look like this: Ch0c0l@t3M1lk$h@k3.

Do you know how long this new password would take to crack? 7 quadrillion years. Instantaneous to forever in three easy steps.

A more advanced password creation process is using what is called a Passphrase. This can actually be easier to memorize sometimes: a line from a song, movie quote, or favorite saying.

Here’s an example: The cat is Milo and the dog is Otis

Step 1: Use the first letter from each word to make your password

Example: TciMatdiO


Step 2: Change the letters to numbers and symbols where possible

Example: Tc1M&td10


Step 3: Add a symbol to the end for extra length and complexity

Example: Tc1M&td10!

Remember, a complex password doesn’t have to be hard to remember. Start with something easy to remember, a word or phrase, and then adds these steps to make it complex. Whether protecting a child just starting to explore the Internet, or a seasoned pro looking to improve your online privacy, these three steps will definitely help strengthen your password.


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