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How to create a strong password and essential best practices

Read our complete guide on how to create a strong password & some essential best practices to level up your cybersecurity.

create strong password

The time it takes you to read this entire blog is all the window a hacker needs to crack a poorly constructed password. Your password is your first line of defense, so make it count. It may be easier to remember the name of your first pet or your mother’s maiden name, but these personal details are also easier for hackers to figure out.

Crafting a robust password demands a strategic approach – one that combines complexity, uniqueness, and unpredictability. So, how can you create a strong password?

In this blog, we’ll explore:

  • What is a strong password?
  • Why do you need a strong password?
  • What constitutes a strong password?
  • What happens if you have a weak password?
  • Password best practices
  • Password methods and examples
  • Weak password habits to avoid
  • Recognizing phishing attempts:
  • What to do if someone knows and uses your password
  • FAQs

What is a strong password?

If you want to enhance your cybersecurity stance, you’ll need to create a strong password. A strong password is a combination of characters that is difficult for others to guess or decipher. It typically includes a mix of upper- and lower-case letters, numbers, and special symbols.

The longer and more complex the password, the stronger it becomes, making it significantly more challenging for attackers to break through. A strong password serves as a robust barrier against unauthorized access, ensuring the security of your online accounts and sensitive information. 

Why do you need a strong password?

You need to create a strong password to protect your accounts and sensitive information from unauthorized access and cyber attacks. Weak passwords are vulnerable to various hacking techniques, such as brute force attacks and dictionary attacks, where attackers systematically try different combinations to guess your password.

A strong password significantly reduces the risk of these attacks succeeding, ensuring the security and privacy of your digital assets, personal data, and online presence. 

What constitutes a strong password?

A strong password typically consists of various elements, including uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers, and special characters. It is also characterized by its length and randomness.

To create a strong password, follow these guidelines:

  • Length: use a minimum of 12 characters; longer passwords are more secure.
  • Variety: include a mix of uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers, and special characters.
  • Avoid dictionary words: avoid using common words, names, or phrases that can be easily guessed.
  • No personal information: don’t use easily accessible information like birthdays, addresses, or family names.
  • No patterns: avoid sequential or repeated characters (e.g., “12345” or “aaaa”).
  • Randomness: create passwords that don’t follow predictable patterns or phrases.
  • Passphrases: consider using a passphrase made up of several unrelated words for added complexity.
  • Avoid common substitutions: don’t rely on common letter-to-number substitutions (e.g., “P@ssw0rd”).

What happens if you have a weak password?

If you have a weak password, you are more susceptible to various cybersecurity risks and potential threats:

  • Brute force attacks: attackers use automated tools to systematically guess your password, exploiting its predictability and simplicity.
  • Dictionary attacks: attackers use precompiled lists of common passwords and words to try to crack your password.
  • Credential stuffing: if you reuse passwords across multiple accounts, a breach of one account can lead to unauthorized access to other accounts.
  • Account takeover: hackers can gain unauthorized access to your accounts, steal personal information, or even use your identity for malicious purposes.
  • Data breaches: weak passwords contribute to security breaches, putting your personal data and privacy at risk.
  • Financial loss: attackers may gain access to sensitive financial information.
  • Identity theft: weak passwords can enable identity theft if your personal information is used fraudulently.
  • Compromised systems: if you use a weak password to protect your computer or network, it can be easily exploited by malware or hackers.

Password best practices

Don’t share or send passwords

Avoid sharing your passwords with anyone, even trusted individuals. Sending passwords via email, messaging apps, or other insecure methods can expose them to potential attackers. 

Unique password for every website

Create distinct passwords for each online account to prevent a breach of one account from compromising others. This minimizes the impact of a security breach.

Use a password manager 

Use password managers to simplify the process of generating, storing, and auto filling passwords, enhancing security and convenience. 1Password’s combination of features, security, and user-friendly interface makes it a popular password manager among individuals and businesses. 

Use password hints that no one else will understand

Instead of directly revealing your password hints, use cryptic or personal clues that only you can decipher. This adds an extra layer of protection to your accounts. For example, your password hint could be “street where we met” – this gives minimal clues about what experience you’re referring to. 

Use Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA)

Enable MFA whenever possible to add an additional layer of security. MFA requires a second form of verification, such as a code sent to your phone, making it harder for unauthorized users to access your accounts.

Use a password generator or autofill

Password generators create strong and random passwords that are difficult to guess. Autofill features in browsers or password managers can help you enter passwords without the risk of keyloggers capturing them.

Password methods and examples

Creating a strong password requires a mix of creativity and complexity. Here are several methods to help you craft a robust password and examples that you can draw inspiration from. 


Passphrases are longer, sentence-like combinations of words, numbers, and symbols that create a strong and memorable password. For example: 

  • “BlueSky@RainyDay$2023”
  • “Hiking#Mountains4Peace!”


Acronyms involve using the first letter of each word in a phrase to create a password. For example: 

  • Traveling Around The World In 80 Days = TATW1n80D$ 
  • My Favorite Movie is The Matrix = MFM1sTm@

Random combinations  

Random combinations include mixing letters, numbers, and symbols in a non-predictable sequence to enhance password security. For example: 

  •  “J3u9le*F0st#82”
  • “Si$eetP9^d4r$5l”

Book quotes

Book quotes use memorable lines from literature to create unique and meaningful passwords. For example: 

  • “ToBe0rNot2B3e#Shakespeare”
  • “Th3PastIsA4Country_Orwell”


Interests-based passwords incorporate personal hobbies, activities, or passions into a password. For example: 

  • “Piano@MusicL0ver#2023″
  • “Marathon*Runner$Goals”

Weak password habits to avoid

We’ve explored how to create a strong password in detail, but what are some practices you should avoid? Here are some mistakes to avoid when it comes to weak passwords:

  • Using common words or phrases: avoid using easily guessable words, such as “password,” “123456,” or “qwerty,” as hackers often try these first.
  • Using personal information: avoid using easily accessible information like your name, birthday, or family members’ names, which can be easily guessed or found online.
  • Reusing passwords: using the same password across multiple accounts increases your risk since a breach on one site can compromise all your accounts.
  • Short passwords: short passwords are easier to crack, so opt for longer ones that are harder to guess.
  • Using sequential characters: avoid using sequential patterns like “abcd” or “1234” as they are predictable.
  • Using dictionary words: passwords based on common dictionary words are vulnerable to dictionary attacks, where attackers try known words to crack the password.
  • Neglecting regular updates: failing to update your passwords regularly exposes you to a greater risk in case of a data breach.
  • Saving passwords in browsers: saving passwords in your browser might be convenient, but it’s risky if someone gains access to your device.
  • Ignoring security alerts: ignoring password-related security alerts or breach notifications can lead to further risks.

Recognizing phishing attempts

Creating a strong password is crucial for online security, but bad actors attempt to exploit weak password practices through phishing attempts. Attackers craft convincing messages that mimic trusted entities, exploiting users’ trust to trick them into revealing passwords.

By staying vigilant and recognizing these tactics, individuals can better protect themselves from falling prey to such scams and compromising their strong password practices. Here are some red flags to watch out for:

  1. Check sender details: scrutinize the email address or phone number closely, as phishing details often use slightly altered or fake addresses that imitate legitimate sources.
  2. Look for spelling and grammar errors: poor grammar and spelling mistakes are common signs of phishing emails, indicating a lack of professionalism.
  3. Verify links before clicking: Hover over links in emails to see the actual URL. Beware of mismatched URLs or suspicious domains that resemble legitimate sites.
  4. Be cautious with urgent requests: scammers create urgency to pressure you into taking immediate action. 
  5. Avoid sharing personal information: legitimate organizations won’t ask for sensitive information like passwords or Social Security numbers via email.
  6. Beware of unsolicited attachments: don’t open attachments from unknown senders, as they may contain malware.
  7. Verify contact information: use official sources to confirm contact information provided in emails. Don’t rely solely on the contact details mentioned in the email.
  8. Check for secure connections: look for the padlock symbol and “https://” in the website’s URL before entering sensitive information.
  9. Trust your instincts: If something seems off, trust your gut feeling. Don’t hesitate to verify the legitimacy of an email or request.
  10. Educate yourself: regularly educate yourself about new phishing techniques and stay updated on cybersecurity best practices.

What to do if someone knows and uses your password

If someone knows and uses your password,you must take immediate action to secure your accounts and prevent unauthorized access. Here’s what you should do: 

Change passwords

Immediately change the compromised password with a strong and unique one that you haven’t used before. This prevents further unauthorized access to your account.

Enable Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA)

Activate multi-factor authentication on your accounts whenever possible. MFA adds an extra layer of security by requiring an additional verification step along with your password.

Review account activity

Thoroughly review the account activity history to identify any unauthorized actions. If you notice suspicious activities, report them to the service provider and take appropriate measures.

Run malware scan

Perform a comprehensive malware scan on your device to ensure it’s not compromised. Malware could have led to the exposure of your password.

Update security software

Ensure your operating system and security software are up to date. Regular updates help protect against vulnerabilities and potential breaches.

Check other accounts

If you’ve reused the compromised password on other accounts, change those passwords as well to prevent a domino effect.

Monitor accounts

Continuously monitor your accounts for any unusual activities even after taking initial action. Vigilance can help catch any lingering unauthorized access.

Alert service provider

If the compromised account is associated with an online service, report the unauthorized access to them. They might provide additional guidance or support.

Educate yourself

Take the time to educate yourself about common phishing and hacking techniques. This knowledge can help you avoid similar situations in the future.

Seek professional help

If the breach is extensive or involves sensitive information, consider consulting cybersecurity professionals or organizations for expert assistance. They can guide you through the necessary steps to ensure your security.


What is the best password manager?

One of the most widely recognized and reliable password managers is 1Password. It’s known for its robust security features, user-friendly interface, and compatibility with various devices and browsers.

Are password generators safe to use?

Yes, password generators are a secure tool to use. They create highly complex and random passwords that are extremely difficult for both humans and automated systems to guess. By using a password generator, you can significantly enhance your online security.

Do I need a different password for each account?

Yes, it’s highly recommended to use a different password for each account you have. Reusing passwords across multiple accounts increases your vulnerability. If one account is compromised, attackers won’t gain access to your other accounts if each has a unique password.

How do I remember complex passwords?

To remember complex passwords, consider using a password manager. It securely stores your passwords and auto fills them when needed. This way, you only need to remember one master password for the password manager, making it easier to manage multiple complex passwords.

Should I write down my passwords?

Instead of writing down passwords, it’s safer to use a reputable password manager. Writing passwords on physical paper poses risks of loss, theft, or unauthorized access. A password manager offers a secure and encrypted digital solution.

Is changing passwords regularly necessary?

While changing passwords periodically can add a layer of security, it’s equally important to use strong, unique passwords, and enable multi-factor authentication. Regular changes might be more critical for high-security accounts, but it can also cause password fatigue. Overall, creating a strong password is the most necessary factor. 

What should I do if I forget a password?

If you forget a password, most online services provide password reset or recovery options. These usually involve sending a reset link to your email or phone. 

Can I use passphrases instead of passwords?

Yes, using passphrases is an effective approach. A passphrase is a longer combination of words that is easier to remember and more challenging for attackers to crack. Crafting a memorable passphrase using unrelated words and characters increases security.

How do hackers guess or crack passwords?

Hackers employ various methods to guess or crack passwords. These include brute force attacks (trying all possible combinations), dictionary attacks (using common words), and leveraging leaked password databases.  

Final thoughts

All in all, creating a strong password is an essential step to safeguarding your online presence and protecting your personal information. Whereas short and simple passwords can take mere seconds to crack, long and complex passwords can take thousands of years to decipher.

Want to ensure that you create a password that will stand the test of time? We suggest you try CovertSwarm’s password strength testing services. If you do have a vulnerability in your security stance, we’ll be sure to find it.

If you’re worried about your staff’s susceptibility to a phishing attack, enquire about our phishing simulation services instead.